As a food lover, one of the worst pieces of news you could receive is that you’ve developed an allergy to a particular food. It’s even worse if this results in you altering your entire diet after years of gastronomic bliss. However, many food and medical experts have found that the number of people who believe they have a food allergy or intolerance has risen. About 20% of the British population to be precise, but many have not had this medically confirmed.
One important difference which people tend to not realise is that allergies and intolerances are starkly different. Food allergies are extremely serious and life threatening. Sometimes the substance does not even need to be ingested in order for a reaction to occur. Food intolerance, on the other hand, is far less serious and symptoms are often mild discomfort. Professor of Primary Health Care, Dr Robbie Foy, explains in more detail “Allergy is meant to mean your autoimmune response being overactive, which is slightly different from areas like food intolerance, where some foods just don’t suit people – and that causes some of this blurring of boundaries”.
With many people choosing to self-diagnose, the reality of food intolerance is unclear. There is an increased risk of people excluding essential vitamins and minerals from their diet but without a clear way for GPs to diagnose food intolerance, there is no easy way to manage this problem.
As a result of all this uncertainty, the sales of “free-from” foods have nearly doubled over the last five years. These types of food include dairy free, gluten free, sugar free and so on and so forth. This up and coming food industry had people spending £238 million last year, with many of those customer purchasing the goods under the belief they promote a healthier lifestyle.
This new lifestyle has prompted many restaurants to include a wider variety of food which is not just suitable for vegetarians and nut free. All these changes to the business make it increasingly more complex for people who want to open a new restaurant. Clearly there is more to consider now apart from just the property, the restaurant insurance the staff and the style of food offered.
It is important to note that if you do not definitively have any food intolerance issues, it’s not wise to exclude certain food groups as you limit your ability to consume important vitamins and minerals. To continue a healthy lifestyle, simply eat a balanced diet and involve regular physical activity to your schedule.