You hear the cries in almost every restaurant these days -- "No gluten, no dairy, no sugar" -- as more and more people are suffering from food intolerances.
According to a recent study of 1,000 Austrians, Southern Germans and German speaking Swiss, almost 17 percent suffer from at least one form of food intolerance. Most have a lactose intolerance (11.5 percent) or are suffering from a histamine intolerance (10.4 percent).
7.8 percent have or suspect a sorbitol intolerance. Gluten intolerances constitute 6.3 percent of complaints. 5.7 percent suffer from fructose intolerance, with galactose intolerance at 4.5 percent, and 4.1 percent do not tolerate sucrose.
The survey by the polling institute Marketagent.com
showed that women are more likely than men to suffer discomfort after eating. In serious cases, symptoms of intolerance include nausea, cramping, bloating, diarrhea, and flatulence.
Six out of ten respondents have the impression that the number of people who suffer from a food intolerance has increased in recent years ("greatly increased": 23.4 percent; "increased somewhat": 37.5 percent).
Women from Austria in particular think that they recognize such a trend. This impression is particularly pronounced among those respondents who themselves suffer from a food intolerance.
Those respondents who suffer from a food intolerance were then further questioned. The results showed that for two out of three, it took up to two years before they discovered that they suffer from a food intolerance. With 34.7 percent of respondents, the food intolerance has been confirmed by a doctor. 14.1 percent have received the diagnosis at an allergy centre.
85.9 percent have changed their diet as a result of an intolerance. 14.7 percent adhere strictly to dietary changes. In contrast, 22.3 percent feel strongly restricted by the intolerance in their quality of life.
14.1 percent have not changed anything despite intolerance to aspects of their diet. 41.8 percent of respondents occasionally take medication to compensate for their enzyme imbalance and to provide relief.
The DACH region consists of Deutschland (Germany), Austria and Switzerland.
At least in the case of lactose intolerance, according to Wikipedia a correlation has been found between such intolerance and race, suggesting there is a genetic component, as 75 percent of all African American, Jewish, Mexican American, and Native American adults are lactose intolerant.