Gluten, lactose and Co: Not all foods are suitable for everyone
More and more people are paying attention to what they eat: Sugar is taboo for some people, others refrain from foods with gluten or lactose. Most have good reasons why they eat either way. You suffer from food allergies or intolerances or generally want to live healthier. However, critics believe that many do this to stage themselves.
Food allergies are increasing
Food allergies have been increasing for many years. According to estimates by the German Allergy and Asthma Association (DAAB), around six million people are affected in Germany alone. “The main triggers in infants and children are cow's milk, soy, chicken egg, wheat, peanuts and hazelnuts. Adolescents and adults generally react more often to raw vegetables and fruits, nuts, fish, crustaceans and molluscs, ”says the DAAB website. However, there are also people who do without certain foods without having an allergy or intolerance. Critics believe that the reason for this is often a mixture of profiling and self-expression.
Different intolerances and allergies
In the past it was often difficult for meat eaters when vegans came over to eat. In the meantime, this diet has become so common that it should no longer be difficult for most to conjure up delicious menus.
Cooking for and with friends has generally become a bit more complicated. After all, there are apparently more and more people who suffer from gluten intolerance, lactose intolerance, nut allergy or histamine intolerance or who do not want to consume sugar under any circumstances.
Especially when preparing a children's birthday, the menu is difficult. Some people think it shouldn't be, because not everyone who claims food allergy or intolerance really has one.
Nutrition is problematic
"The tendency to problematize nutrition has clearly become stronger in recent years," said Jana Rückert-John in a message from the dpa news agency.
"There are real food allergies and intolerances. But there is also a rapid increase in what is felt or claimed, ”says the professor of“ Sociology of Food ”at Fulda University of Applied Sciences.
Nutrition scientist and author Uwe Knop calls people who avoid certain foods without a medical diagnosis nutritional hypochondriacs. "Sometimes I get the impression that sugar is the new heroin," he said pointedly.
Although there are no valid figures for the trend, there are frightening individual cases. It points to the tragic death of a baby in Belgium who died because the parents only fed the baby boy with rice, oats, quinoa and buckwheat for months. Eventually the malnourished child became dehydrated.
"The parents found in their own diagnosis that their child was gluten and lactose intolerant," said the responsible prosecutor.
Life threatening consequences
There is no question that nuts, apples, seafood or celery can cause health problems in adults.
"They are the most common allergies to food," said Margitta Worm, head of the university outpatient department at the Clinic for Dermatology, Venereology and Allergology at the Berlin Charité, in the dpa report.
The consequences range from itchy rash and swelling to gastrointestinal problems such as bloating, diarrhea, constipation, nausea and vomiting.
“In severe cases, there can also be shortness of breath and circulatory reactions,” says Worm. The most severe allergic reaction to food is anaphylactic shock, which manifests itself in the form of a life-threatening circulatory breakdown.
Number of food allergy sufferers in need of treatment
According to the German Allergy and Asthma Association, the number of food allergy sufferers requiring treatment is estimated at seven percent of the population.
However, the dpa report states that, statistically speaking, such allergies affect only two to three percent of adults and are therefore less common than hay fever, for example, at around 16 percent.
The rate of food allergy among children is slightly higher at five to six percent. According to Worm, however, milk protein allergies, for example, often went away before school.
The values for an intolerance to gluten, the sticky protein in some cereals, are still significantly lower. According to the doctor, 0.9 percent of the German population suffered from a chronic small bowel disease (celiac disease).
The selection of gluten-free products in the supermarket suggests a kind of sudden mass epidemic. Many people without an intolerance also use it.
It has long been known that gluten-free foods are not equally healthy for everyone.
"For me as a sociologist, it is interesting if people describe themselves in this way - whether they have it or not," said Jana Rückert-John according to dpa. "It obviously does something to them, and it's about the reasons for this self-description."
Nutritionist Knop suspects a mix of profiling and self-expression. The “self-staging” with waiver and delimitation serves to remain interesting.
According to John, you “find connection and allies with it. Anyone who has no allergy or intolerance is almost boring today. ”
But it is fundamentally a positive aspect if people think and talk more about the topic of food. "But it is typically German to problematize it so badly."
According to the sociologist, the affluent society is troubling citizens. "There is a high degree of uncertainty associated with this abundance," said John.
On the one hand, it's about the topic of health, i.e. the various diseases that are associated with nutrition. On the other hand, negative environmental effects from animal husbandry and intensive agriculture also played a role.
"And then comes the point of personal responsibility." Because of this uncertainty, some decided to limit themselves.
Good deal for the trade
The new trend is obviously very productive for the manufacturers of corresponding goods. “Lactose free” and other “free of” products sell well.
Almost every supermarket now has coconut, soy, rice, oat, almond or hemp milk, although a maximum of one fifth of the population suffers from lactose intolerance.
"These are phenomena of an over-saturated affluent society that can afford the pathologization of basic foodstuffs such as milk and cereal products," said Uwe Knop in the dpa report.
It is good business for the food trade. "Gluten-free pasta costs 1.55 euros, normal pasta 49 cents."
Knop is worried about the really affected. “Real allergy sufferers suffer from the fact that many no longer take their problem seriously. It is like a desensitization of society. "(Ad)