A true food allergy causes an immune system reaction that affects numerous organs in the body. It can cause a range of symptoms. In some cases, an allergic food reaction can be severe or life-threatening. In contrast, food intolerance symptoms are generally less serious and often limited to digestive problems.
While these are just definitions, let’s look at both these in depth to understand them better.
- Age – Developed from infancy. 2% of adults and 6-8% of children have an allergy
- Reaction – Immediately 2 hours or less. Skin, digestion and airways are mainly affected.
- Is it Deadly? – Even trace amount of foods can trigger severe life threatening reactions.
- Common Types – Peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, milk, fish & shellfish.
- How many foods? – Rarely more than 1 or 2 foods.
- Do they go Away? – No, they are persistent and are lifelong
- Self Assessment – Immediate reaction easier to identify.
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- Age – Any age, 45% of the population suffer from food intolerance
- Reaction – Delayed reaction to a food upto 72 hours after eating the offending food. Bloating, joint pain, IBS, tiredness, eczema, low mood, headache and weight gain are symptoms
- Is it Deadly? – No
- Common Types -Wheat, gluten, milk, fruit and vegetable.
- How many foods? – Can be multiple
- Do they go Away? – Symptoms can clear after avoidance of offending foods.
- Self Assessment – Delayed onset of symptoms and a possible intolerance to multiple foods makes self diagnosis tricky.
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