Aug 262011

I was recently trying to explain to a client that she was having a food intolerance issue.

When I said that, her answer was that she was not allergic to any foods.  Being in her 40’s she had experience to support her comment.  As I explained the issue to her, it became obvious to me that as a member of the health profession we have failed to explain many issues to people.

So here is an attempt to give a simple clear explanation of food intolerances.

Our bodies cannot absorb food in the way it grows. This is true no matter what the food, be it fruit vegetables, meats or oils.  To absorb what we need from food the chemicals have to be chopped up into very small pieces.

The chemicals that our bodies produce to do that are called enzymes (just think of a pair of scissors).  Now each enzyme is designed to cut up a certain type of food.  So to digest milk, we need a pair of scissors particular to lactose (which is a chemical in milk).  That pair of scissors (enzyme) is called lactase (lactase-phlorizin hydrolase).

If we are deficient in lactase our bodies will not be able to digest or absorb the lactose in milk.  This will lead to all sorts of chronic health problems and gut issues.  (remember that this is just one chemical among thousands that we get from our food!)

Now, this chemical is made by a particular gene.  So if we have a nutrient deficiency that stops that gene from producing lactase or we are dificient in any way that stops ourt body producing or using lactase we will get sick from having dairy products.  Lactase also works at a particular Ph.  So if our gut is not healthy the lactase will not work even if it is there.

It is estimated that somewhere between 15%-20% of all Australians have some issue that causes lactase deficiency.  This means that 1 in 5 of us will get some discomfort or symptom of illness if we have dairy products in our diet.

Remember, we are still only talking about one particular chemical.  Medical research shows that we can expect that more than 90% of the population will have some version of this issue.

It does not mean that you are ill or sick.  It just means that there is something in your diet that does not get digested properly.

Deborah Manners has put together a great website for those of us who have some version of this.  Go to to read more.  There is also a great list of symptoms that may be caused by a food digestion issue.

Have a great day.
Talk again soon, Fran