CONFUSED BETWEEN FOOD ALLERGIES AND INTOLERANCES?

 

Confused between food allergies and food intolerances? You’re not alone. 

There appears to be a lot of discussion around food intolerances and food allergies at the moment. With exceptionally large numbers of people presenting with symptoms in recent times. Are they suffering from food intolerances, food allergies or a different gastrointestinal condition? You may also wonder why the numbers of people presenting with these symptoms are growing, refer to blog ‘Cleaning your house may be doing you more harm’. Without completing understand the difference between food allergies and intolerances it can become quite confusing and difficult to know how to treat. 

Food allergies are an immune reaction. The body will mistake a component, usually the protein within the food, as harmful. It sees it as an invader. As a result, it attacks the component. Often resulting in skin irritation, upset stomach, coughing, wheezing and sometimes progressing to more severe, life threatening. These symptoms will usually present within the first 30 minutes of eating the food and can occur after consuming only small amounts.

"The body will mistake a component, usually the protein within the food, as harmful"

Whereas food intolerances don’t involve the immune system. The body either struggles to digest the food properly or it irritates the digestive system. Intolerances can be triggered by natural food chemicals or additives. Common natural food chemicals include amines, salicylates and glutamate. Food intolerance can also be enzymatic. Lactose intolerance is very common and growing. It is often caused from not enough lactase being produced, the enzyme responsible for breaking down lactose. This results in bloating, diarrhea and pain. Food intolerance symptoms often develop over a longer period of time, from a few to several hours. You will often need to consume substantial amounts to notice symptoms as well. 

"The body either struggles to digest the food properly or it irritates the digestive system"

Note: food intolerance reactions may vary from diahorrea, cramping, headaches, gas, flatulence, bloating and occur after several hours. Whereas food allergy reactions will be much more severe and sudden, itchy skin, coughing, wheezing and some digestive discomfort. 

This influx in the population presenting with food intolerances has forced the market to alter, finding ways to cater for it. With so many alternative options available at our finger tips, from nut milks to buckwheat pasta. Those traditional family meals you once loved and hate missing out on can now be enjoyed. It's very exciting times. The hospitality industry is also offering alternative meals, creating delicious gluten free and lactose free options. Visit ‘Dining Out’ to see all the latest cafes and restaurants that are catering for everyone. 

 
Sarah Stewart