Potato intolerance: recognizing the causes and symptoms

You feel like you can’t take potatoes. You may feel sick and weird after eating. But are these symptoms? We will now show you how to recognize an intolerance and what you can do:

In this article you will learn:

  • Why some people cannot tolerate certain foods.
  • What symptoms occur if you do not tolerate potatoes?
  • What is the difference between an allergy and an intolerance.
  • Whether a potato allergy can be dangerous.
  • How to get tested for a potato allergy.
  • What to watch out for with a potato intolerance.
  • What are the alternatives to potatoes?

Why do I not tolerate potatoes?

Whether as french fries, mashed potatoes, boiled potatoes or in dumpling dough, the potato is very versatile. Therefore, the brown tuber is an indispensable part of the kitchen for many.

But what happens if you get stomach pain or even diarrhea after eating and feel uncomfortable? You may also feel a tingling sensation on your lips and your heartbeat will accelerate. These can all be indications that you do not tolerate potatoes.

If you notice that you have symptoms not only after eating potatoes, but generally after eating, our post Diarrhea after eating: Finding and combating causes can help you.

We are now on the trail of the potato and see how the brown tuber actually made it onto our plate. Then we’ll see what the intolerance to potatoes is all about.

A brief history of everything to do with the potato

The plant originally comes from South America and came to Europe with seafarers in the 16th century. Here, however, it took a long time for the residents to cast their suspicions against the plant. Because the green stems contain solanine and whoever ate it suffered from severe poisoning that could lead to death. It was only in the 18th century that people slowly learned to appreciate the potato.

Nowadays there are hundreds of varieties that differ in terms of maturity and purpose. For example, there are premature, waxy or floury potatoes . You can also distinguish between potatoes by color, shape, texture or starch content.

Potatoes originally come from South America and came to Europe relatively late.

Like peppers, chillies, aubergines and tomatoes, potatoes belong to the nightshade family . This family of plants is characterized, among other things, by the fact that almost all parts of the plant except for the fruits are poisonous due to the solanine they contain.

The same goes for the green parts of the potato plant. The potato tubers actually do not contain this poison . However, if they have come to light and develop green areas or even germinate, then solanine is also formed there. Some tolerate this better when eating and others not at all.

Why do I not tolerate certain foods?

As already mentioned, some people may react sensitively if there is still some solanine in the potato . Another possibility if you have a potato intolerance is that you have an allergy or a food intolerance .

Food intolerance can also be described as food intolerance . Above all, lactose or fructose intolerance are known. However, there are also rarer intolerances to a wide variety of foods. This is a metabolic disorder, so that certain components of food are not or only very poorly utilized. In your case, these would be special ingredients in the potato. This will be in yourThe gastrointestinal tract is insufficiently decomposed , so that you experience symptoms such as diarrhea after consuming it.

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A food allergy is a disorder in the immune reaction and usually occurs very early. The body sees the respective substance as an enemy and tries to fight it through a reaction of the immune system. A very small amount is enough for the body to react.

This can be life-threatening, so if you suspect an allergy you should always consult a doctor and clarify the fear. You can also find out more about the differences between allergies and intolerance from us .

What do I not like about the potato?

In itself, an allergy or an intolerance to anything can form. However, an allergy to potatoes is very rare. This is particularly noticeable when coming into contact with raw potatoes, for example when gardening or processing.

A reaction to boiled potatoes, on the other hand, is very rare. This is because medical professionals consider the essential oil in potatoes to be the allergen, i.e. the substance that causes allergies. This is destroyed when heated to over 100 degrees.

So as long as the tuber is heated hot enough, the allergen is destroyed, but if the heat is insufficient, residues can still be present and cause the said symptoms.

What does cross-reactivity mean?

The intolerance to potatoes can be a so  called cross – reactivity or cross-reaction . Sometimes an existing allergy makes you more susceptible to substances with similar allergens. This is called cross-reactivity .

This occurs when two different things share similar proteins . If you’re allergic to birch pollen, you may cross-react with raw potatoes.

So people who already have an allergy are more likely to be allergic to potatoes than people without any allergies. Allergies in which a cross-reaction with potatoes was observed were approximatelyHazelnut or birch pollen allergies, grass pollen allergy and a latex allergy. In this case, an allergy to boiled potatoes may also appear.

How do I recognize a potato intolerance?

You can tolerate the potato if you don’t have any discomfort after contact or after eating. However, if your skin is itchy or you develop a contact rash while processing the potato , you probably cannot tolerate potatoes. These symptoms can occur even a few hours later.

If you have already had these symptoms, you should see a doctor to clarify your potato intolerance.

To find out whether you have a potato intolerance or allergy, you should see a doctor.

If you have an allergy, the doctor can explain how to prevent and alleviate the symptoms. An allergy can lead to severe symptoms and should therefore always be clarified with a doctor.  

What are the symptoms if I have a potato allergy?

In the case of a potato allergy , oral discomfort occurs from eating , which begins with itching of the mouth, tongue, lips and gradually spreads . If you have an allergy to potatoes, these symptoms can also show up:

  • Sneezing, runny nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • a headache
  • Tears from eyes
  • Red eyes
  • to cough
  • Panting
  • Skin blisters that may be oozing
  • Discoloration of the skin
  • Rashes
  • Itchy skin
  • Abdominal pain and cramps
  • Flatulence
  • nausea
  • diarrhea

In addition to these symptoms, an allergy to potatoes can cause life-threatening problems such as swelling of the throat and throat and shortness of breath . If you actually react to the potato, you may also show symptoms with other nightshade plants , such as tomatoes, eggplants, chilli peppers, peppers and some spices such as paprika flakes, cayenne pepper and paprika goji berries .  

Can a potato allergy be dangerous?

Some throat and throat reactions can become life-threatening if you cannot breathe properly.

An allergy can also cause a life-threatening allergic reaction . This is called anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock. This can begin with mild allergy symptoms, such as a stuffy nose, watery eyes or hives , and can progress to various degrees of severity.

Most allergic reactions do not escalate into anaphylaxis . But anaphylaxis is a medical emergency that needs to be addressed immediately. This is usually announced with:

  • itching
  • Tingling sensation in the body
  • Metallic taste in the mouth
  • difficulties swallowing
  • a headache

At the latest when these symptoms occur, you have to call the emergency doctor on 112:

  • Pulse has flattened
  • Airways cramp up
  • Lips turn blue
  • Pale and cold skin
  • Shortness of breath
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Nobody can estimate how severe an allergic reaction will be, so you should always call the emergency doctor in Germany at 112 if you feel unsafe or if the person concerned has signs of this.

What to do if you are intolerant to potatoes and have a potato allergy?

If you suspect that you may not tolerate potatoes, you can have it tested by a doctor . Please never try to find out for yourself what you cannot tolerate. As you have seen in the complaints, an allergic reaction can be life-threatening. Of course, this also applies to other allergies, for example coconut milk intolerance , paprika intolerance or onion intolerance .

What does the doctor need to know about me for the allergy test?

There is no perfect test to confirm or rule out a food allergy. Therefore, your doctor will consider a number of factors before making a diagnosis. Therefore, you can prepare yourself by gathering the following information:

  • Symptoms
    Here it is important that you can give your doctor a detailed list of your symptoms. Make a note of which foods and how much they are causing you problems.
  • Family history  
    Of course, not the whole history is interesting, but which allergies are known in your family. Allergies seem to have a genetic component. This means that if parents have an allergy, it increases the likelihood that their birth children will also develop an allergy.

How can I have an intolerance and an allergy tested?

With this information, the doctor can start his diagnosis. Depending on the doctor and fear, this includes the following points:

  • Physical Exam
    A careful exam can often identify or rule out other medical problems.
  • Skin test
    A so-called skin prick test can prove the reaction to a certain food. In this test, a small amount of the suspicious food is placed on the skin of your forearm or back. A doctor or other healthcare professional will then stick a needle into the skin to allow a tiny amount of the substance to get under the surface of the skin . The procedure is painless, by the way, because the substances are only brought into the skin by gently scratching.In addition, an aqueous solution and one with histamine will be applied to you as a control. There must be no reaction with the aqueous solution, with histamine there must be a reaction. If your skin becomes red or itchy in the area with the food, you have an allergy.
  • Oral test
    During this test, which will be done in the doctor’s office, you will be given small but increasing amounts of potatoes. If you don’t get a reaction to this test, it may be safe to keep eating the potato.
  • Blood test
    A blood test can measure your immune system’s response to certain foods by measuring an antibody known as immunoglobulin E (IgE) caused by allergies. For this test, blood is drawn in the doctor’s office and sent to a medical laboratory in which various foods can be tested.

There are some providers on the Internet who claim that they can detect a wide variety of food allergies with a blood test. A test kit is also sent to you to take home with you. You have to take a few drops of blood from your finger and send it to the laboratory in the tube provided. After a few days you will get a result that shows whether and which foods you are allergic to. However, these tests do not measure IgE antibodies, but IgG antibodies.

In fact, however, it has not been scientifically proven that the presence of IgG antibodies actually speaks for an allergy to the food in question. The IgG antibody test can only prove that the body has already come into contact with the substances. However, these tests cannot say anything about a real allergy.

  • Elimination Diet
    You may be asked not to eat the potato for a week or two and then return the tuber to your meals. This process can help associate symptoms with the potato. However, elimination diets are not foolproof.An elimination diet cannot tell whether the reaction to a food is an allergy or a food sensitivity. If you’ve had a severe reaction to potato in the past, an elimination diet may not be safe.
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What should I avoid if I have a potato intolerance?

If you don’t like potatoes, you should read all labels carefully when shopping . Because the potato is hidden almost everywhere, for example as a thickener. Therefore, when you go to a restaurant, it is advisable to ask whether it contains potatoes or potato ingredients before ordering .

If you have a potato intolerance, you should avoid dishes with potatoes.

Here is a list of what you should keep an eye on:

  • Dried and cooked potatoes are sometimes used as a thickener in processed foods like soup or stew.
  • Potato flour can be used as a substitute for wheat flour in prepackaged foods or in restaurants.
  • Modified potato starch can be found in a wide variety of products, including candy.
  • Grated packaged cheese may contain potato starch.
  • Many types of vodka are made from potatoes.
  • Make sure food is not cooked on surfaces or in pans that have contained potatoes in them.

What should I watch out for if I have a potato intolerance?

Potatoes are also used as an ingredient in herbal medicine to help relieve upset stomach . Therefore, also check the list of ingredients for all over-the-counter medications and herbal supplements. Here it is good to get advice from your doctor or the pharmacy.

Talk to your doctor about prescribing emergency adrenaline . It may be advisable that you carry an appropriate emergency kit with you. Your doctor can explain how to use it.

If you’ve already had a severe reaction, it’s good to wear a bracelet or necklace that lets others know that you have a food allergy. This protects you in case you have an allergic reaction and can no longer communicate it.

What are the alternatives to potatoes?

Of course, thanks to potato intolerance, you should simply remove the brown tuber from your menu. There is a wide variety of other side dishes here that you can use instead.

But if you do feel like a typical ” potato dish “, there are the following alternatives:

Alternatives for french fries:

  • Topinambur
  • Kohlrabi
  • Turnip
  • Avocado

Alternatives for mashed potatoes:

  • cauliflower
  • celery root
  • Kohlrabi

Alternatives for potato chips:

  • Zucchini, beetroot or savoy cabbage chips
  • Yams
  • Kohlrabi

How can a low FODMAP diet help if I suffer from intolerance?

The so-called FODMAP diet can help if you are struggling with gastrointestinal complaints. The English abbreviation stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and (and) polyols .

FODMAP are sometimes difficult to digest. These are long-term and short-term carbohydrates and sugar alcohols that are found in numerous foods.

Since certain enzymes that break down FODMAP are lacking in the small intestine and they are too large to pass through the intestinal wall, they are poorly absorbed in the small intestine and reach the large intestine. This is where the bacteria of your intestinal microbiota make themselvesto decompose the FODMAP through fermentation processes. The FODMAP bind water in the intestine, while the bacteria produce gases from it. The result is often diarrhea and gas.

However, FODMAP are not necessarily harmful to your intestines – so there are a few important points to consider for the correct implementation of an FODMAP diet. Find out more in our post FODMAP Diet For Irritable Bowel Syndrome : What Can I Eat?

Potato intolerance – what to do?

An allergy to potatoes is very rare and when they do, the symptoms are mainly evident when they come into contact with the raw tuber. On the other hand, a cross-reaction occurs more often if someone is already allergic to these allergens. A reaction to potatoes can develop here.

An intolerance only manifests itself in digestive complaints, whereas an allergy can be life-threatening. Because this can lead to anaphylactic shock, which is life-threatening . A doctor can diagnose an allergy through a variety of tests, such as a blood test.

If there is an allergy, the potato should be avoided as much as possibleto avoid an allergic reaction. In addition, you can replace the tuber and should be careful to avoid it with ready-made food as well as when visiting a restaurant.

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