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Is it a Food Allergy vs. Food Intolerance? What’s the Difference?

Uncategorized February 21, 2017

While food allergies and food intolerances are both caused by reactions to certain foods, they are not the same. Before eliminating any foods from your diet, it is important to see your doctor if you think you have a food allergy or intolerance. By working with a health-care team, you can make sure that you’re getting the care you need.

If you believe you have a food allergy or intolerance, keep a diary of all the food you eat to find what might cause reactions and what exactly those reactions are. The strength and type of your reaction can help you find out whether you are having an allergic reaction to a food or a food intolerance.

Food allergy vs. food intolerance chart Granite Peaks GIFOOD ALLERGY
A food allergy occurs when you feel an urgent, severe reaction after you eat a certain food or food group. A sudden allergic reaction to food can take place within a few minutes to an hour after you eat a certain food.

Common reactions of a food allergy are:
–Itching in the mouth (often at the start of the reaction)
–Throwing up
–Diarrhea (loose stool)
–Belly pain
–Drop in blood pressure
–Problems breathing
–Wheezing due to asthma
–Skin reactions, such as hives or eczema (an itchy rash)

Doctors can do skin and blood tests to find allergies. A food allergy indicates an allergic reaction to a protein in certain food groups.

The big eight food groups that cause the most food allergies in North America are:
–Tree nuts

Food allergies are best treated by avoiding foods that cause a reaction.

Those with certain food allergies, such as peanuts, tree nuts and shellfish, as well as other foods linked to sudden and severe reactions where the throat could close, should be under the care of an allergy doctor and carry an injectable epinephrine syringe (EpiPen), which treats severe allergic reactions.

Food intolerances are fairly common and are harder to figure out.

Reactions from a food intolerance may involve:
–Upset belly
–Diarrhea (loose stool)
–Belly pain

A food intolerance or sensitivity indicates a reaction to sugar in certain food groups.

Common foods to which people have food intolerances are:
–Wheat and other grains that have gluten (gluten intolerance)
–Cow’s milk and dairy products (lactose intolerance)
–Corn products
–Sugar found in fruits and honey (fructose intolerance)
–Wheat starch and starches in other grains (starch intolerance)

Before omitting foods from your diet, it is vital to work with your medical provider if you think you have a food allergy or intolerance. Click here to request an appointment at Granite Peaks Gastroenterology.

 Source: American Gastroenterological Society (AGA)