Conditions

Food intolerance

food intolerance

All kids can be picky about what they eat, but just because they don’t like something doesn’t mean they are intolerant. Food intolerance is a recognised medical condition, and it’s a complex area.

Being intolerant means that your child has a heightened sensitivity to something. This makes it hard for them to digest the food and can give rise to symptoms ranging from sickness to headaches, rashes, bloating, diarrhoea and hyperactivity. Kids need to have eaten a reasonable amount of the food before they show this sort of reaction, which won’t come on immediately – it may be half an hour or more before the symptoms start to show. Sometimes kids actually love the food to which they are intolerant!

Being intolerant is not the same as being allergic, which is much more serious, and involves the body’s immune system reacting strongly to only a tiny bite of, for example, peanuts. Allergic reactions can be life threatening and are comparatively rare. Food intolerance is very common (it affects around 45 per cent of people in the UK) and, because it can be hard to identify exactly what the cause is, it can be tricky to diagnose. So what sorts of things are kids intolerant to, and what steps should you take?

One of the commonest intolerances, especially in babies, is to lactose in cow’s milk, which can cause tummy ache, diarrhoea and bloating. Preservatives and additives are other common culprits, and in older kids so are wheat and fruit juice. If you suspect your child has food intolerance, see your doctor or paediatrician before making major dietary changes, as cutting out food groups can be dangerous for your child’s development. Experts can test your child and help you work out a long term plan in dealing with the problem.

For more information, see website: foodreactions.org or visit their lactose and food intolerance forum

What the Men in White Coats Say

Comments and Questions

Comments & Questions are now archived, but if you see anything on the site that worries you, please report it and one of our moderators will look at it as soon as possible.
Please note: Unfortunately Channel 4 cannot respond to individual inquiries. If you have any concerns, you can check out NHS Choices, but ultimately it is always best to check with a health professional.

how much orange juice have 20 year old man got to have a day





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

My 12 mounth old grandson keeps being sick after his milk and food he has only one kidney and we are realy worried.





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

My daughter at least once a day (normally more though) complains or her stomach hurting and always grabs quite low down on her tummy area when asked to point out where its sore. I've seen various GP's who just say she's attention seeking as she is almost 3 but its been going on now for almost a year and getting to a point where she refuses to eat where she is in pain. what do you think try again for a 4th opinion or is it really just attention seeking?





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your answer.


Please don't swear or be rude in your answers, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting answers. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

Questions submitted to the site will be answered by other site users, not by medical professionals, so if you have a medical concern, please book an appointment with your GP.

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

my belly is bloated and has been for ages now there is nothing that is working i thought it would of been my periods but they come and go and people quiet often ask me if im pregnent but i have had many test and they all come up negative so somone please help i dunno whats wrong my belly just isnt going down





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

my 7 year old daughter has the same symptoms and has done for a month, only she has also been experiencing mucus in her stool the odd time, she has no pain though at all i constantly ask her all the time and she says shes fine, but she can go to the tiolet at least 3/5 times a day, i took her to the doctors and the local hospital, finally a doctor has suggested a stool sample to be sent of and checked, she has a rather healthy diet with the odd choccie bar and sweete, but not lately as im trying watch her diet, she did have the same symptoms about 8 month ago but it went away after i changed her diet of the doctors advise and then returned again last month, does anyone know what this maybe as i am awaiting stool sample results for my daughter and i am constantly worried for her, she does drink plenty of fluids and the doctor wasnt worried about dyharation, many thanks for reading and good luck with your little ones.





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

There is a lot of ignorance regarding intolerance to food. As far as lactose intolerance goes, which is far more common than anyone wishes to recognise, it would be wise not to resort solely to soya milk. Soya milk can have a negative effect if consumed in large quantities. Also, as soya milk is often described as bad tasting, high quantities of sugar are added; rather like fizzy drinks. An excellent alternative is 'Lactofree'. This is cows milk, but with nearly all traces of lactose removed, and therefore avoiding the high sugar content associated with soya drinks. Teeth are very badly effected by these soya drinks and consumption of these drinks should be kept to a minimum. Obviously, all dairy products need to be avoided, including eggs, margarine/butter, cakes, biscuits, mushrooms, smarties (!AVOID!). Other ingredients often cause symptoms of discomfort. (I am not a Doctor, but having had lactose intolerance for many years, have become quite an 'expert' on the subject. I do not seek the opinions of Doctors, as they have very little knowledge of this area, are often ignorant, and often refer to books, and the internet - some training on the subject would not go amiss).





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

my 7 year old daughter has had really bad diarrear since she was born she even soils in school which she gets really embarrased and she has always had acid reflux,but she has now been diagnosed with lactose intolarance and full dairy intolerance,,,so she been put on a strict diet,,,which i am so glad as it has made a real big differance not straight away tho ,,,we have not had any accidents for a few weeks now and the acid reflux seems to have gone aswell....the strict diet is hard but worth it





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

hi i have a 13 year old , and all he eats is cornflakes or chocolate , and has dun since he was 4 years old . he is looseing loads of weight and im very worryed bout him because he gets very violent aswell . he dosent like the smell or texture of any foods ! doctors just dont care !! school is involved but very slow ! its affecting him in a big way as he has chances to go on holiday but wont because he wont eat anything !! please help ??





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

my baby girl is 4 months old. she has been diagnosed with milk intolorance. she also has problems drinking the prescription milk she has always drunk very little. i am wuried that she isnt geting enough calcium is there a subsitute that can be given? she only drinks 10-12 oz of milk a day i know this isnt enough.





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

my son is milk intolarant and he has a calcium suplament frm the docter,that might help her.

My 8 year old daughter suffers terribly with hiccups. It may not sound like a major issue but they aren't normal hiccups. It sounds like she's belching with each hiccup and they are very painful. I've tried to explain it to my doctor but I don't think she believes me. She's never had regular hiccups.....they've always been the painful kind. She suffered with reflux as a baby and spent the first few years of her life throwing up numerous times a day and I think this may all be related. We normally give her peppermint oil mixed in water to try and stop them.....it eventually works.....I was wondering if there is anything else that we can do for her?





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your answer.


Please don't swear or be rude in your answers, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting answers. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

Questions submitted to the site will be answered by other site users, not by medical professionals, so if you have a medical concern, please book an appointment with your GP.

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines


Important Notice

The information provided on this website (including any NHS Choices medical information) is for use as information or for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical care by a qualified doctor or other qualified healthcare professional. We do not warrant that any information included within this site will meet your health or medical requirements. This Embarrassing Bodies site does not provide any medical or diagnostic services so you should always check with a health professional if you have any concerns about your health.


If you want to embed our videos in your site, read our embedding T&Cs here


More Information

  1. Allergies

    In Conditions - Researchers believe nearly 40 per cent of kids in the UK suffer fro…

  2. Coeliac Disease

    In Conditions - Coeliac disease is caused by intolerance to gluten which can be fou…

  3. Colic

    In Conditions - All newborn babies cry but colic is particularly persistent, uncont…

  4. Embarrassing Bodies Kids: Episode 1

    Embarrassing Bodies Kids - The clinic opens its doors for a special series that invites your l…

  5. Embarrassing Bodies Kids: Episode 3

    Embarrassing Bodies Kids - In episode 3 the doctors deal with a curved spine, allergic reactio…

  6. Intestinal Worms

    In Conditions - There are many different types of intestinal worms and because chil…

  7. Mouth Ulcers

    In Conditions - The mouth is one of the most sensitive areas of the body so when ki…

  8. Vitamin Deficiencies

    In Conditions - Vitamins are vital for the development of the brain as well as the…

  9. Weaning Problems

    In Conditions - Babies should start to make the transition from milk to solid foods…


More Information

Content supplied by NHS Choices

A food allergy is when the immune system experiences an adverse reaction to specific proteins found in food. Read More »