What is the difference between Allergy and Intolerance
The term ‘food intolerance’ and ‘food allergy’ are often confused and are two very different things.
A genuine food allergy is not as common as we think. Studies have shown that only about 2% of the adult population are affected. A food allergy is a swift response by the body’s immune system to a specific food. In this type of reaction, the body’s immune system mistakes a food for an ‘invader’ which often results in a rapid allergic reaction often within minutes, but generally within a maximum of two hours. This type of allergic reaction is commonly associated reactions to peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs and seafood. Often we will know when we have an allergy to a certain food.
A Food intolerance or sensitivity is different to a food allergy and whilst the symptoms can severely impact a person’s quality of life they are not life threatening. Food intolerances and sensitivities are much more common than food allergies. When foods and drinks are digested the proteins within them are broken down into smaller fragments for easy absorption into the body. Sometimes larger fragments can pass through without breaking down, and the body may react by attacking them using antibodies called Immunoglobulin G’s (IgG).