food intolerance

Study Explores Intolerance Based on Eating Habits


This is an interesting study.

Researchers looked at a random group of over 1,500 people in China and found IgG food intolerance in a large percentage – between 40-60% of the population, depending on the region.

The most common reactions were to egg, crab, fish and dairy.

Excerpt from the National Institutes of Health and PubMed:

The aim of the present study was to investigate the difference of intolerance to food between southern and northern middle-aged Chinese, and furthermore analyze its association with eating habits in both study population.

ELISA was applied to determine the serum concentrations of specific IgG of 14 food anaphylactogen in 1568 healthy subjects from totally 9 districts in both southern and northern China. Life style questionnaire was also applied to investigate the daily intake of six categorizes of food associated with food intolerance.

45.8% of all subjects were found to be intolerant to certain food. 62.3% of subjects from southern China and 40.4% of subjects from northern China were found to be intolerant to certain food, the difference between southern and northern Chinese was statistically significant. Top three foods intolerant by southern Chinese were crab, egg, and cold fish, while top three food intolerant by northern Chinese were egg, crab, and milk. The differences of intolerance to crab, cold fish, soy bean, rice, and tomato between southern and northern Chinese were statistically significant. Investigation on eating habits revealed that cereals and fish were the major food consumed by subjects in our study. There was no certain association between food intolerance and eating habits.

Considering that there are differences between southern and northern Chinese, southern and northern Chinese should pay attention to their daily food in order to avoid food allergy.

PMID: 23940969


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(photo: creativecommons)


(photo: commons.wikimedia)
(photo: commons.wikimedia)

To begin, let’s look at some examples of food intolerance.

There are two very good examples, one of which everyone has heard of, and the other, most are likely familiar with as well.

Let’s first consider lactose intolerance.

Lactose intolerance is well understood to be a deficiency in the enzyme needed to digest lactose. Lactose is a sugar in milk. If you don’t produce enough of the enzyme, called lactase, then you can’ t digest lactose and you end up with gas, bloating, and abdominal discomfort when you ingest milk products. It’s about as simple as that. You can buy lactose-free milk, and you will be fine. You can also buy the enzyme and take it with your food, and it will help you digest milk products and you’ll be fine.

Note however that lactose intolerance has nothing to do with the immune system. It doesn’t produce inflammation. It doesn’t cause any real damage. It’s definitely not life threatening. It’s just very uncomfortable and perhaps embarrassing.

Now let’s turn to the second example, gluten intolerance.

Gluten intolerance does not involve an enzyme deficiency. Gluten intolerance is an immune reaction. And in the case of celiac disease it results in an autoimmune reaction. Antibody production is also involved, but these are not the IgE antibodies we noted when discussing the traditional view of allergy.

These are IgA and IgG antibodies. Gluten intolerance also involves other parts of the immune system beyond these antibodies. As you may already know, gluten intolerance is connected to hundreds of different symptoms. You can have digestive problems, skin problems, neurological problems, psychological problems, weight problems, etc.

This list goes on and on.

As you can now can the use of the word ‘intolerance’ in lactose intolerance is something completely different than the use of ‘intolerance’ in gluten intolerance. You have probably already guessed it, but there is no scientific definition for the word intolerance. It means the same thing in this context as it does anywhere else in the English language. It’s just a very broad word that means that things aren’t working out well.

This is a big problem. And I am very sensitive to this. (Or is that intolerant of it?) If the word doesn’t really mean anything, or the medical system uses it in two very different ways, then people will get confused. And that is part of the reason that many people, including many doctors, don’t appreciate the significance of gluten intolerance – because they equate it to lactose intolerance.

We help patients everyday with digestives issues such as food allergies, intolerance, celiac disease, IBS and more. Please feel free to contact our office directly with questions or to speak with a health professional at

Feel free to add your thoughts in our comment section.


The holidays are upon us, and for some of you so is temptation. This is one of the easiest times of the year to mess up your diet. DON’T DO IT! I’m here to encourage you to stick with it.

Remember, you feel better when you don’t eat those things to which you are allergic or intolerant. Keep reminding yourself of this. YOU FEEL BETTER!

You are also in combat with your taste buds, old habits, and that dimwitted relative who thinks that you should eat it anyway. Trust me, they don’t know what is good for you. Only you know. Stay confident and don’t give in.

It’s ok to be selfish and focus on yourself, especially when it comes to your health. You don’t have to try to make someone else happy by eating something that you shouldn’t. Even if that someone else is that little devil sitting on your shoulder telling you to do it because you really want to. Tell him to buzz off.

Remember that around the holidays the issue usually is not that you can’t find food to eat, it’s that you can too easily find food that you shouldn’t eat. You can probably eat the nuts, the vegetables, the turkey, cranberry sauce, and a few other things. You definitely aren’t going to starve.

Another problem is that we don’t stop eating. We just keep eating, even when we’re full. This is another recipe for eating something that you shouldn’t. Get out of the house and away from the food. Enough already! Just say no.

Or think of Obama. He’s about change. You’re about change. Now is a good time for change.

If you know that you are going to crave something, then make an effort to prepare an acceptable version ahead of time and snack on that instead. And make enough to share with others. Everyone will appreciate it, including you.

Say healthy, eat healthy, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!


I want to thank Sharon Gray for presenting at our support group meeting last week. If you weren’t able to make it I can tell you that you missed a real treat. Sharon is someone who exudes an enthusiasm and positive warmth in seemingly everything that she does, and this certainly comes through when she shares two of her favorite things, nutrition and acupuncture.

Sharon has a very unique and effective way of combining the fine tradition of Chinese medicine and philosophy with our modern day knowledge of food and food allergies, and she has a special interest in digestive health. She does such a good job of describing herself that I feel it appropriate to use her words here:

My world has always seemed to revolve around food… So it’s no surprise that the focus of my practice is ‘nourishment’, in every sense of the word…

Beginning in the early nineties, my passion for whole foods cooking evolved into a formal education in nutrition science, and a ravenous appetite to learn more about sustainable, life-giving foods.

During this time, I also discovered the profound benefits of acupuncture therapy, and how these complementary modalities strengthen the effects of one another. This has inspired me to bring these valuable tools together, by combining acupuncture with nourishing massage and nutritional support to help bring the body back into its natural state of balance.

I work with a variety of health concerns; however, my forte is digestive health. This includes the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), abdominal discomfort, food sensitivities, weight gain & loss, and various other digestive upsets.

If you have a food allergy or intolerance and have ever had any interest in exploring acupuncture or Chinese medicine then I believe that Sharon Gray is the ideal person to see. She will understand your food intolerance and allergies, and provide you with a whole new perspective on food and health while conveying the wisdom of Chinese medicine. For more information please visit her website at