What’s the difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance?

More and more people are experiencing food intolerances & food allergies – but what really is the difference between the two, and how can you treat yourself if you’re an allergy or intolerance sufferer?

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Food Allergy

A food allergy is unlike most infections, as it is an isolated instance affected by certain foods. Those with an allergy have an issue with their immune system which rejects certain foods by releasing a set of chemicals, spurring on an allergic reaction. Only a small amount of the problem food needs to be exposed to the victim for an allergic reaction to take place. The reactions can range from mild symptoms like itchiness, swelling and vomiting, to severe symptoms such as inability to breathe.

Common foods kids & adults are allergic to are peanuts, tree nuts and fish. Once a food allergy is identified, it’s important to consult your GP. Cutting out whole food groups will not be beneficial to recovery.

Related posts: How to support gut health (from an IBS sufferer)

Food Intolerance

A food intolerance is much less instantaneous and much less severe than a food allergy, and can take several hours to show the consequences. Whereas with a food allergy, in which you only need to have a small amount of the problem food, a larger portion needs to be consumed to see the food intolerance signals.

Symptoms include bloating and stomach cramps and are uncomfortable in their severest degree. Those who think they may have a food intolerance should identify which foods are causing the issue and find alternatives, or eat less of them, if stomach issues continue.

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