The Food Intolerance Threshold

Food intolerances are something very close to me that I have personally been dealing with for 6+ years. Over this time, I (pretty much) dedicated my free time to researching what on earth was giving me those horrendous IBS symptoms. Well, I feel like I have cracked the code.

Food intolerances are extremally complex, and most importantly, they are individual. The protocol that needs to be taken and the nutrition recommendations vary with each person, and that is what is so hard to communicate in a blog topic such as this. Hence, this will be a general overview that may provide you will another snippet of knowledge for your journey.

I am sure many of you experiencing food intolerance have heard to death about the FODMAP approach, of which is incredible, however, there is sometimes more to the bigger picture than just following a low FODMAP diet. The diet isn’t supposed to be a lifelong thing, it is only supposed to be followed in order to help you discover your triggers. Then, you are left to fend for yourself, with all the other possible causes of your symptoms.

This is where the food intolerance threshold comes in. Below is a diagram that illustrates this threshold perfectly. You may find yourself extremally intolerant to one particular food that pushes you over the threshold, or, you may be slightly intolerance to many little things that throughout the course of the day causes you to reach that threshold and produce symptoms. For example, you may be able to tolerate 160mg coffee per day (approx 2 regular coffees,) but as soon as you have the third or even something like chocolate or coke that contains caffeine, you hit the threshold and produce symptoms.
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Below is another diagram of a whole body approach called the ‘load and overload’ principle. Basically, this approach is suggesting that it is not one thing that may be triggering your symptoms. This explains how confusing it is when sometimes you can tolerate something but other times you can’t.

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If you would like specific, individualised guidance on how to discover and manage your food intolerances, it is best to consult a registered dietician or a doctor who has a keen interest in this area.

Sienna Lawrence

BHs. Food Science & Nutrition

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