Food Allergy vs. Food Intolerance: How can you tell which one you have?

September 29, 2022 by Leyla Moudden
Food Allergy vs. Food Intolerance: How can you tell which one you have?

Did you know there is a difference between food intolerance and food allergy? But what are the differences?

You might assume you have a food allergy, if, when eating a particular food you always have a reaction, such as an upset stomach or diarrhoea. 

However, not everyone with these symptoms has a food allergy, it is possible that you have an intolerance to certain foods

The question is, how do you determine if you have an allergy or an intolerance?

Let’s discuss the differences between the two

Food Allergy

Allergy or Intolerance

When the human immune system reacts abnormally to particular meals, this is known as a food allergy. 

Although allergic reactions are often not life-threatening, potentially they can be. It’s possible that food allergies can affect several parts of your body at the same time. 

Here are some frequent symptoms:

  • an itching sensation in the mouth, pharynx, or ears
  • a rash that is elevated, red and itchy (also known as “hives”)
  • facial swelling, especially around the eyes, as well as on the lips, tongue and roof of the mouth
  • vomiting

Causes of Food Allergy

Immune System Allergies and Intolerances

Food allergies occur when the immune system, which is supposed to protect our bodies from getting sick, mistakes the proteins in food for something dangerous.

Consequently, a variety of different compounds are released and they bring on the symptoms of an allergic reaction.

Although an allergic reaction can be brought on by virtually any type of food, a few, are commonly responsible for the majority of allergies. They include:

  • milk
  • eggs
  • peanuts
  • tree nuts
  • fish
  • shellfish
  • certain fruit and vegetables

To confirm a diagnosis, a comprehensive medical history, a thorough physical examination, appropriate laboratory tests - such as an IgE allergy test - and, in many instances, an oral food test may be deemed necessary by your physician.

Food Intolerance

Food Intolerance

Food intolerances are frequently mislabelled as food allergies. Both food intolerance and food allergy involve the body’s digestive system, but food intolerance primarily affects the digestive tract.

People who are intolerant to certain foods may have symptoms such as abdominal cramping, bloating and diarrhoea. It’s possible that this is due to difficulties digesting specific compounds, such as lactose, for example. However, there are none of the symptoms of an allergic reaction.

Food intolerance symptoms are generally inconvenient and uncomfortable, but they are not a threat to life. Symptoms of food intolerance usually start to show up within a few hours. They include:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Bloating and wind
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Upset stomach

A simple, natural solution to multiple food intolerances would be to take Enzymedica’s Digest Spectrum. For more specific intolerances to dairy foods, lactose, gluten, vegetables or beans, Enzymedica has a range of carefully targeted products. What’s more, these products come with a 30 day money-back guarantee.

In Conclusion

Food Allergy and Intolerance

The following is a list of the primary distinctions that may be made between a food allergy and food intolerance:

  • In most cases, the manifestation of the signs and symptoms of a food intolerance takes place many hours after the consumption of the offending food(s)
  • Unlike food allergies, food intolerances are caused by eating reasonable quantities of the substance that makes you sick
  • Unlike food allergies, food intolerances never pose a risk to a life

An experienced allergist can help you determine whether you suffer from an allergy or intolerance and will work with you to devise a strategy that will help you manage your symptoms.

It may be advisable to consult an allergist if your symptoms are preventing you from engaging in normal day-to-day activities. For example, if you always have to plan where you are going and how long you will be away; worry about having to find a toilet in an emergency, or just avoid going out in case you are caught short, these are all life-limiting circumstances that most people would prefer to be without.

Sadly, many people who experience these symptoms over long periods of time, just accept them as normal, but it doesn’t have to be like this.

We have partnered with Dr Roshni Menon, an experienced allergist who has helped many people with these problems over the last 22 years. Make an appointment for a full consultation with Dr Roshni, and quote 'Enzymedica UK' for 10% off your consultation fee/

 Dr Roshni MemnonThe Wellness People