Food Intolerance

Food intolerance can create unpleasant symptoms

Food Intolerance is often confused with allergies, but in fact is a different type of condition altogether. Also known as non-allergic food hypersensitivity, it is a detrimental reaction to a food, beverage, food additive, or compound found in foods that produces symptoms.

Carbohydrate intolerance

One of the most commonly recognised forms of food intolerance is lactose intolerance, but people can also develop intolerance to other substances known collectively as carbohydrates.

Your body requires carbohydrate as its primary source of energy, and it is a major nutrient in your daily diet (along with protein and fat). Carbohydrate is classified according to its structure; the most basic unit is a simple carbohydrate, commonly referred to as sugar. Simple carbohydrate sugars include glucose, fructose and galactose. Combined sugars - called disaccharides - include maltose, sucrose and lactose. There are also complex carbohydrates known as polysaccharides, which include glycogen.

Your body requires specific enzymes to process and digest each of these different types of sugars. The enzymes play the role of catalyst, producing chemical changes without changing themselves. When one of these enzymes becomes inadequate, it results in carbohydrate intolerance.

Carbohydrate intolerance can either be primary or secondary. Primary intolerance is the result of an enzyme deficiency present during birth or your developing years. Secondary intolerance is the result of a disease in the intestinal tract, which disappears when it is treated properly.


Food intolerances are not usually harmful to your body, but they can cause some unpleasant symptoms, including abdominal pain, bloating, headaches, palpitations, diarrhoea and nausea, and these can start to affect you within half an hour of eating or drinking.

How severe the symptoms are can vary a lot depending on how much of the enzyme your body creates and also depends on the amount of food eaten.

Hilary will test to see which food products may be affecting you.

Hilary Newman treats many common conditions