Is a Food Intolerance Affecting Your Fitness?

By on May 21, 2014
small bowls filled with cereal

Shared by YorkTest –

We all know that regular exercise and good nutrition are the key to a healthy lifestyle. If you binge on junk food before or after you exercise then you can guarantee it’s going to be a struggle for you to reach your ideal weight.

However, what if you’re exercising regularly and eating healthily but still not showing signs of improvement – in fact you’re feeling more bloated, tired or even putting on weight? It could be that you’re suffering from a food intolerance.

How does having a food intolerance affect your fitness?

Listening to your body is paramount to your fitness levels and if you find yourself with uncomfortable symptoms, or struggling to improve your fitness, then it’s worth monitoring what you eat and seeing where you can make an adjustment. A food intolerance is when your body is not digesting the food you eat properly meaning your body isn’t absorbing much-needed nutrients which can be a problem if you’re exercising regularly.

It can take up to 72 hours for symptoms to appear after you’ve eaten the problem food or foods, making it difficult to identify which food you are reacting to. One of the most common symptoms of a food intolerance, although symptoms are vast, is IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and if you do suffer from this then you’ll firstly need to visit your GP so that they can rule out anything more sinister.

Food intolerance testing is available from the likes of YorkTest who are able to provide a detailed list of problem foods that you should start cutting out from your diet.

What should you be eating instead?

If you discover a food intolerance is the cause of your discomfort then, depending on how many foods you are intolerant to, there will be an adjustment period in your diet as you remove the offending foods and start eating new ones. It’s really important that you cater your diet to your own individual food sensitivities, but as a rule of thumb many IBS sufferers have found great success with the low FODMAP diet.

Here are a couple of tips for eating healthily with a food intolerance and fitness in mind:

1)      Don’t skip breakfast

One thing that has been well promoted is the importance of breakfast, for good reason too. To keep your energy levels up you want to choose foods that will keep you fuller for longer so you don’t have to snack throughout the morning. Porridge is well recommended as it is great for sustained energy levels, if you find it too heavy for spring, muesli is a worthy alternative. For a more protein-packed breakfast, try scrambled egg on toast or use free-from bread depending on your intolerance. A healthy breakfast especially one high in fiber, provides you with the energy you need to power through your daily exercises  and keeps you full for longer.

2)      Cut down on sugar and stock up on iron

If most of your diet contains too much fat, sugar and not enough fruit and vegetables, you might find it hard to commit to an exercise regime and are easily tired. Refined sugar gives you a rush of energy, but wears off quickly – it’s a good idea to stay away from energy bars as these are packed with syrups that, whilst giving you a high, will lead to an inevitable slump. Natural sugars in fruits and vegetables such as bananas, oranges, lemon, carrots and peppers are essentially all the sugar you need in a healthy diet. According to the National Diet and Nutrition Survey, two out of five (42%) teenagers and one in three (33%) of 19-24 year olds have low iron stores. Low presence of iron in your body can also make you feel tired, faint and look pale. Green vegetables, eggs and lean red meat are good sources of iron which helps to prevent tiredness and build up your stamina.

It’s therefore incredibly important that you listen to your body when you eat – if food doesn’t agree with you, cut it out of your diet but just make sure that you stock up on any removed nutrients with an alternative.

Food intolerance vs Allergy Infographic

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Is a Food Intolerance Affecting Your Fitness?