Thursday, 28 February 2013

Pizza Fights Back!


            A couple of years back I began to notice something. Eating pizza was often followed by a period of what we will politely call “digestive upset”. It didn’t matter what sort of pizza it was or what outlet I brought it from, there was a better than 90% chance that I would be in for a rough night.

            One thing that this could clearly not be was lactose intolerance. My father worked for a dairy during my childhood so I was raised drinking lots of milk, had cream on every desert, yogurt was always in the fridge and he even used to make his own butter. I drink a latte nearly every morning and have no trouble eating cheese or yogurt. Other foods with melted cheese on such as jacket potatoes do not cause me problems either. Bizarre thought it seemed, I seemed to have developed an allergy to just pizza.

            On the one hand, I had always enjoyed pizza. On the other hand pizza is often incredibly overpriced for what is essentially bread and cheese, comes in portions that encourage overeating and is often so full of fat you can squeeze oil out of it. Removing pizza from my diet has probably helped with the new leaner and more muscular person I have become in the last year.

            A few months back the local market had some bacon and cheese ciabatta bread so I treated myself to some for Sunday morning breakfast, warming it up in the microwave. I discovered that my digestive tract considered bacon and cheese ciabatta close enough to pizza to give me grief. This however, was another piece in the puzzle. Talking to the vendor I asked what cheese was in the bread and he confirmed that it was mozzarella.

            Logically, this suggested the possibility that either I was intolerant of cooked cheese, intolerant of mozzarella or intolerant of cooked mozzarella. I could narrow this down further with a couple of experiments but that would involve making myself sick, so I think I will pass on that for now.

            I did some further research and eventually came across websites were other people had problems with food that contained cooked cheese. Seems that if you cook cheese rather than just melt it it goes through chemical changes and some people (including myself apparently) are sensitive to these compounds.

            I had never heard of an intolerance to cooked cheese before, so if, like me you have problems with pizza know that you are not alone and there does seem to be a logical explanation as to why you can eat cheese but pizza fights back.