All kids can be picky about what they eat, but just because they don’t like something doesn’t mean they are intolerant. Food intolerance is a recognised condition, and it’s a complex area.
Being intolerant means that your child has a heightened sensitivity to something. This makes it hard for them to digest the food and can give rise to symptoms ranging from sickness to headaches, rashes, bloating, diarrhoea and hyperactivity. Children need to have eaten a reasonable amount of the food before they show this sort of reaction, which won’t come on immediately – it may be half an hour or more before the symptoms start to show. Sometimes children actually love the food to which they are intolerant!
Being intolerant is not the same as being allergic, which is much more serious, and involves the body’s immune system reacting strongly to only a tiny bite of, for example, peanuts. Allergic reactions can be life threatening and are comparatively rare. Food intolerance is very common (it affects around 45 per cent of people in the UK) and, because it can be hard to identify exactly what the cause is, it can be tricky to diagnose. So what sorts of things are kids intolerant to, and what steps should you take?
One of the commonest intolerances, especially in babies, is to lactose in cow’s milk, which can cause tummy ache, diarrhoea and bloating. Preservatives and additives are other common culprits, and in older kids so are wheat and fruit juice. If you suspect your child has food intolerance, it is best to have a food intolerance test see before making major dietary changes, as cutting out food groups can be dangerous for your child’s development.
Food Intolerance Testing for Children now available here – contact Kathryn for further details
Children must be over the age of 2 for intolerance testing – The immune system is not fully developed under the age of 2. Changes in diet at that age must be supervised as they may leave the child deficient of nutrients.