The Difference between a Food Allergy and a Food Intolerance

When I began changing my son’s diet because he developed IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) I knew that food allergies existed.  We have all heard of food allergies.  When I started hearing about food intolerance and sensitivity I found it confusing.  I had no idea what they were and how they were different from food allergies. After a lot of reading and a very long and clinical explanation from a doctor I started grasping the difference between the two.

This list shows the basic differences between food allergies and food intolerances or sensitivities as I usually refer to them.

Food Allergy

  • most  severe response to food
  • an immune or histamine response by the body to an ingested food or food additive
  • response is to a protein or to a molecule linked to a protein
  • response is usually immediate
  • response can range from a full blown anaphylactic reaction to less severe responses including coughing, sneezing and hives

Food Intolerance

  • also referred to as food sensitivity
  • no histamine response so it is not technically an allergy
  • usually lack the proper enzymes to digest certain foods
  • reactions are usually slower appearing hours or even days after the food is ingested
  • symptoms of food intolerances are not always as easy to recognize as the symptoms of food allergies –reactions include but are not limited to digestive, respiratory,  sinus, skin and weight problems, fatigue, headaches, and insomnia

For a more in-depth report purchase the Food Intolerance Navigator.

To learn more about food allergies and sensitivities check out the related links on the LINKS page.

One Response to The Difference between a Food Allergy and a Food Intolerance

  1. Sandra says:

    I am so excited to get your cookbook. I have been looking for help with a diet as such fro my son with Autism. I just ordered it but have already been referring my friends and other mothers to this site.
    Thanks so much and take care!
    Sandra and James

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