With dairy-free and gluten-free diets becoming the latest trend to follow, it seems everyone thinks they have a food intolerance. But what is a food intolerance? And how would you know if you had one? We take a look.
What is the most common food intolerance?
The most common food intolerance is to dairy, with 65% of the world's population intolerant to digesting lactose. The second most common food sensitivity is to gluten. People with coeliac disease cannot eat gluten due to the immune system attacking itself when gluten is ingested and someone suffering from this condition can become seriously ill if they do consume a food containing gluten.
Signs you may have a food intolerance
There are several symptoms that are common throughout different food intolerances. These include but are not limited to:
- Stomach ache
Symptoms of food intolerance tend to take longer to appear than symptoms of food allergies and they may be harder to spot.
Causes of food intolerance
There are several reasons why someone might be born with or develop a food intolerance. Some people lack the digestive enzymes to break down certain foods, for example people with a dairy intolerance may lack lactase which is the enzyme that breaks down milk sugar. Nearly all foods require an enzyme for proper digestion.
Some people may have an over-sensitive immune system which rejects the food or attacks itself when the food is ingested, in the case of coeliac disease. It's possible that if you eat a certain food too much you may develop an intolerance over time. In this case, by simply cutting the food out of your diet for a period of time, you can get rid of the intolerance.
How do I know if I have a food intolerance?
It can be difficult to diagnose a food intolerance because the symptoms can be caused by any number of health issues and symptoms often overlap. If you believe you may have a food intolerance, you're advised to keep a careful and detailed food diary and note what foods you have eaten when you experience symptoms. You are then advised to cut that food out of your diet and see if the symptoms go away. If so, it's quite possible you have an intolerance to that food. If you want to be really sure, you can then purposely eat that food and see if the symptoms return. This is known as an exclusion diet.
If you want a more detailed test, a doctor can perform a skin prick test. This is when a small amount of the suspected food is placed on your arm and the skin is pricked so that it goes below the skin's surface. If you react with a raised lump, you may well have an intolerance or allergy to this food.
For most people, eating enough protein per day can be a struggle. But what about eating too much protein? Is there such a thing? What happens when you consume too much protein?
Can you have too much protein?
Yes, it is possible to consume too much protein. When you consume more protein than your body needs, the excess calories are turned into fat and stored within the body. You can't store extra amino acids or protein for later use, so the amino acids are simply excreted through urine and wasted. Therefore, there is absolutely no point consuming more protein than you need to.
But what happens when you do go overboard? If you are eating far too much protein, there is a good chance you won't be eating enough carbs. This means not enough fibre and nutrients from fruit and vegetables. You may also be lacking sugar which promotes healthy brain function.
How many grams of protein a day is too much?
Guidelines state that an adult man should take in a minimum of 10% of his daily calories from protein. This equates to 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight, so a 12 stone (168lbs) man would need roughly 60g of protein per day.
However, for athletes and people who are very active, this can rise to up to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight; so if this 12 stone man was an active bodybuilder or triathlete, he may need up to 168g of protein per day to meet the needs of his muscles.
If you live a sedentary lifestyle whereby you work an office job and only do a limited amount of exercise, you won't need that much protein in your diet. Eating healthy, lean protein sources each day like chicken, turkey, eggs, and nuts and seeds part of a balanced diet will be all you need to achieve your protein needs. Unless you train a lot, you shouldn't need to add protein shakes into your daily diet. For more information on dietary supplements, read our article on the top 5 supplements for beginners. If you think that drinking protein shakes can help you lose weight, read our article which answers the question of should I use protein shakes to lose weight.
Is it bad if you eat too much protein?
As with everything, too much is a bad thing and it's best to have everything in moderation. Consuming too much protein really isn't an issue many people need to worry about, however if you do think you're consuming too much, there are negative implications. The main negative effect of consuming too much protein is weight gain, however there are other side effects such as dehydration and kidney problems.
The health implications of not eating enough protein are actually worse than consuming too much. If you don't think you're eating enough protein, here are 3 easy ways anyone can get more protein into their diet.
What're the signs you're eating too much protein?
As mentioned above, any excess protein you consume will be tuned into fat and stored in the body. If you are eating too much protein you are probably eating too many calories, which will always result in weight gain.
The body has to use more water to flush out the excess protein from your body, so if you consume too much protein you will end up dehydrated. If you feel dehydrated despite drinking plenty of water, it could be a sign of consuming too much protein. Always make sure you're drinking plenty of water, especially if you train a lot. Up to 3 litres a day is optimal.
Your kidneys are responsible for filtering waste products from your body. By consuming too much protein on a regular basis, you could damage your kidneys by over-exerting them. You would have to eat far too much protein for a very long time to do any real damage to your kidneys, though, so it's not something many people need to worry about.
These no-bake almond cherry bars are a super easy, delicious treat that all the family will love! Perfect in lunchboxes for the kids or as a grab-and-go snack, they're full of natural ingredients and taste divine. Enjoy!
Recipe by Amie Forster.
Makes 12 | Prep time: 10 minutes | Chill time: 1 hour
- 2 Cups Oats
- ½ Cup Almond/Peanut Butter
- ½ Cup Fresh Cherries (de-stoned)
- ¼ Cup Maple Syrup
- ½ Cup Almonds
- ½ Cup Desiccated Coconut
- Mix oats, almonds and coconut in a bowl; add maple and nut butter and mix well.
- Add cherries and mix again until all oats and coconut have stuck with the wet ingredients.
- Place in a medium baking tray and freeze for a minimum of one hour.
- Remove from freezer and cut into bars.
- Store individually in the freezer for up to one month.
Photo Credit: HaaralaHamilton
Our friends the Squirrel Sisters, Gracie and Sophie Tyrrell, have a new cookbook out and gave us here at Sundried a sneak-peek of one of their delicious new healthy recipes.
Their book, Naturally Delicious Snacks & Treats: Over 100 healthy recipes by Gracie and Sophie Tyrrell, published by Pavilion Books, is available now on Amazon.
Salmon Skewers Recipe
Lovely, zesty pesto goes really well with fish so long as you leave out the usual Parmesan. Try to buy the slimmer-in-width, but thicker-in-general fillets of salmon so you can get 5-6 chunky dice out of each one. Thinner fillets won’t hold onto the skewers quite so well.
- 2 chunky salmon fillets (about 360g)
- 8-12 cherry tomatoes
- Olive oil, for frying
For the pesto:
- 40g rocket (arugula)
- 15g cup pine nuts
- Zest of 1 small lemon
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp sea salt flakes
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
Start by making the pesto. Put the rocket, pine nuts, lemon zest and juice, sea salt flakes and olive oil in a food processor and blend until smooth. Season with black pepper and a little more salt, if wished, to taste.
Chop the salmon into 2.5–3-cm chunks and pop them in a bowl. Add half of the pesto and stir to coat the salmon well. You can leave this to marinate in the fridge if you have time, or just cook them straight away.
Thread the salmon chunks onto short skewers, alternating with the cherry tomatoes. You should get 4–6 skewers in total.
Heat a splash of olive oil in a large non- stick frying pan (skillet). Add the skewers and cook for about 10 minutes in total, turning every couple of minutes so that each of the sides gets browned.
Serve with the remaining pesto drizzled over the top.
Protein bars are a popular way to supplement your diet. Whether you use them as a healthy snack alternative or you swear by them post-workout, they're becoming a big part of the fitness world. We answer everything you've ever wanted to know about protein bars.
Why eat protein bars?
Protein bars are often designed to be delicious, moreish, and packed with healthy ingredients. They are expertly crafted to deliver the correct nutrients and a powerful punch of protein while still tasting great. Most protein bars will contain between 10g-20g of protein but can also contain a lot of sugar and calories.
A protein bar is designed to be eaten post-workout, when your body is low on glucose and is in need of a protein hit to aid recovery. In addition, they are meant to be used as a healthy snack alternative when on-the-go, instead of eating conventional chocolate bars or snacks.
A protein bar can be a great way of increasing your daily protein intake, however it's important to beware of the calories and sugar. Sometimes, it's better to get your protein from natural food such as lean meat, poultry, eggs, nuts and seeds, and beans.
Do protein bars make you put on weight?
When it comes to weight loss and weight gain myths, it can be difficult to split fact from fiction. You will only really gain weight if you are eating more calories than you are burning in a day. Therefore, protein bars will only make you gain weight if they are taking your daily caloric intake over the limit.
However, it is certainly possible that eating protein bars could make you gain weight because you don't realise just how many calories they contain. Always check the label when buying a new protein bar to check not only how many calories it contains, but also how much sugar. What you thought was just an innocent, healthy snack could easily contain over 300 calories.
What is the best protein bar?
In order to find the best protein bar for you, you need to know your goals. When going on a fitness or weight loss journey, it's very important to set fitness goals so that you can track your progress and have something to focus on. Once you know your goal, you will be able to decide what is the best protein bar for you.
Some protein bars are designed to increase mass for those looking to build a lot of muscle. These bars will contain a high amount of carbs as well as protein and a high number of calories for those who are 'bulking' on a high calorie diet. On the other end of the spectrum, there are 'lean' or 'diet' protein bars which contain very few carbs and a low amount of calories while still packing a lot of protein, and these are better for people trying to lose weight while building lean muscle and strength.
Finally, one of the most important things to consider when deciding if a protein bar is right for you is the taste and texture. Some protein bars are very dense with a chewy texture, while some are designed to mimic conventional chocolate bars with their decadent taste and chocolate coating.