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Discover the Differences Between Food Allergy and Food Intolerance

Food allergies and food intolerances have important differences. Understanding these differences could save your life! Learn how and why they differ, so you can make healthy choices.

Consider this information:

1. What are food allergies and food intolerances?  

There’s an essential difference between these two terms:

  • A food allergy refers to the immune response your body has to certain foods such as cherries or strawberries. For example, if you’re allergic to these two fruits, then your body can have a serious reaction to them, and you may suffer from anaphylaxis.
  • On the other hand, a food intolerance can irritate your system, but it won’t start an immune response.

 

2. Understand the dangers.

Food allergies are generally more dangerous than food intolerances. However, medical experts recommend that you discontinue eating foods that irritate you or make you feel sick.

  • You may need to seek immediate medical help if you have an allergic reaction to a food. However, you may be able to avoid a hospital visit if you only have a food intolerance.
  • Serious allergic reactions to food can be life threatening and need to be handled immediately. If you suspect you may have a serious food allergy, it’s important to discuss it with your doctor. You may need an EpiPen or other medication that can save your life in an emergency.

 

3. Pay attention to your body.

It’s important to pay attention to your body after you eat something. You may want to document any reaction and make your doctor aware of it.

  • Although food intolerances aren’t as dangerous as food allergies, your doctor can provide guidance. You may need to adjust your menus at home and be more aware of the ingredients in the food you eat at restaurants. You might need to eliminate some foods and replace them with others.

 

4. Understand the issues of food intolerances.

A food intolerance can be complex and more difficult to understand.

  • Although your body doesn’t have an immune response to an intolerance, you may still feel very sick. You may experience stomach issues, cramping, bloating, and other symptoms.
  • Lactose intolerance is one example of a food intolerance that isn’t an allergy.
  • It’s important to note that once you eliminate or stop eating the food that is causing the intolerance, then your symptoms go away.

 

5. Overlapping symptoms.

Food allergies and food intolerances can have overlapping symptoms. This complicates diagnosis and makes it more difficult to determine which one is happening in the body.

  • Overlapping symptoms can include stomach pain and other issues.

 

6. Potential causes of allergies and intolerances.

Scientists continue to research why and how food allergies and intolerances develop.

  • Genetics may play a role in food allergies and intolerances. If you have a family member who’s allergic to soy or another food, then you may be at a higher risk of having a similar allergy.
  • Researchers have also found that the human body can lack certain enzymes that make it difficult to digest your food. This can lead to a food intolerance.
  • Food additives can also create intolerances because you may be sensitive to them. Packaged and processed foods have multiple chemicals in them that can lead to issues and intolerances. You may become sensitive to one or more chemical additives.

It’s important to pay attention to the differences between food allergies and food intolerances.

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