A study by a food diagnostic company discovered that many hypochondriacs have changed their diet after carrying out self diagnosis on the internet. And incredibly one in 50 reckon they only noticed the condition when a friend had similar symptoms.
The research, carried out by www.yorktest.com to mark food tolerance week, also revealed 39% of people think it’s trendy to declare themselves food intolerant. Almost 12 million claim to be food intolerant, but less than a quarter of those have had it medically diagnosed.
A spokesman for www.yorktest.com said: “Food intolerances are on the increase, but it’s worrying to think that many sufferers have never actually been tested or diagnosed. There is a surprisingly diverse range of foods which people are now intolerant to.”
Nutrition expert Patrick Holford says that people spend decades suffering unnecessarily from hidden food intolerances because most doctors aren’t aware of the symptoms than can be caused, and cured, by avoiding unidentified food intolerances.
Mr Holford said: “People who feel tired, or have digestive problems, or eczema, asthma or joint aches often have a food allergy or intolerance. Likewise headaches or depression are often symptoms of hidden food intolerance.
“Food intolerance symptoms aren’t as severe as food allergies; so many people might not want to worry their doctor about them and will just blame it on the busy, hectic lifestyles we lead.”
Twenty two per cent of the 1,500 polled have to put up with constant sneezing, and 18% have a stuffy nose. Another 13% suffer from hives while 11% even have a shortness of breath thanks to their allergy or intolerance.
The range of foods people are intolerant to is incredibly diverse with grapefruit and sushi being named as two of the worst offenders.
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