Your guide to food intolerances

Think you may be intolerant to certain foods? Here’s how to tell the difference between specific intolerances.

Gluten: This protein is found in wheat products. Some people with gluten sensitivity react to wheat but can tolerate oats or rye.

Food examples: wholemeal bread, rye crispbreads, rolled oats and barley

Lactose: A natural sugar, lactose is present in dairy products. Some people who can’t tolerate milk find they can eat yoghurt. 

Food examples: cheese, cream, yoghurt, butter, ice cream.

Salicylates: This family of plant chemicals are found naturally at high levels in many fruit and vegetables. 

Food examples: pumpkin, broccoli, capsicum, watermelon, strawberries, honey, tea and coffee 

Amines: These result when protein is broken down by fermentation.

Food examples: cheese, chocolate, wines, beer, yeast extracts, bananas, avocado, and tomatoes

Yeast: As they grow, these living, single-celled fungi make proteins.

Food examples: Vegemite, Marmite, most breads, some crispbreads, beer, wines, and some stock powders

Specific foods or food groups: Some people find that certain food groups cause them health problems and are best avoided.

Food Examples: seafood, eggs and the nightshade family (e.g. eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes)

MSG (monosodium glutamate): The man-made MSG additive is often found in take-away or pre-packaged foods but MSG also occurs naturally in some foods, making them more flavoursome. 

Food examples: cheese, tomatoes, mushrooms and yeast extracts


Oligosaccharides: e.g. wheat, rye, onions, garlic, legumes and pulses

Disaccharides: lactose found in milk, soft cheese and yoghurts

Monosaccharides: Fructose, e.g. honey, fruits like apples and high- fructose corn syrup

Polyols: e.g. sorbitol, mannitol, found in some fruit and vegetables and also used as artificial sweeteners.

Food additives: These include artificial colours and preservatives, such as antioxidants, sorbates, benzoates, sulphites, nitrates and propionates. These chemicals are added to everything from processed meats and dried fruit to salad dressings.

Food examples: Just about anything that is processed or packaged. Making foods from scratch at home is the best way to avoid colours and preservatives. 

Looking for ways to revamp your eating plans? Check out our diet and nutrition section for more healthy eating tips and recipes.

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