Food Allergy & Food Intolerance
Food Allergy and Food Intolerance
Physical reactions to food due to difficulty digesting or metabolizing a particular food are more commonly due to food intolerance rather than food allergy.
Food intolerance symptoms are generally less serious and often limited to digestive problems. The amount of food ingested is directly related to the severity of symptoms, and the food causes similar symptoms with each exposure. If you have a food intolerance, you may be able to eat small amounts of the offending food without trouble. Examples of food intolerance are as follows:
- Lactose Intolerance – Lactose intolerance presents as bloating, flatulence, abdominal cramping, and/or diarrhea after consumption of lactose in dairy products.
- Fructose Intolerance – Fructose intolerance presents with bloating, flatulence, or diarrhea after ingestion of fruit and fruit-based sweeteners (including high-fructose corn syrup).
- Alcohol Intolerance – Alcohol intolerance presents as flushing after ingestion of alcohol.
Food allergy involves the immune system and affects many organs such that even tiny amounts of the food can cause severe reactions. Food-allergic reactions are unpredictable and may progress to a serious or life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis.
If you have a reaction after eating a particular food, please discuss this with our doctor so she can determine whether you have food intolerance or food allergy.