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Is it food intolerance or food allergy

Posted by
Dr Batra’s™

It is not uncommon to have reaction to a certain food. You might end up feeling nauseated or suffer from diarrhea after eating. While this may look like symptoms of food allergy, there are chances you might be suffering from a less severe disorder called food intolerance. What exactly is it and how is it different from food allergy? Well, while food intolerance is not as severe and life-threatening as food allergies are, you need to treat it to get rid of unpleasant symptoms it causes. To get a right treatment, you need to make correct diagnosis. Here’s your guide to differentiate between food allergies and intolerance.       

Food allergies v/s food intolerance

Here are 4 key distinguishers:

  1. Mechanism: The basic difference is that when you have food intolerance, it means you are unable to digest something. It implies that you are not able to properly breakdown the food you have eaten. Food allergy on the other hand is an immunity related disorder where your immune system reacts to the food, which it considers as a foreign substance and threat to your body. Normally your immune system defends diseases and foreign bodies but in food allergy your immune system considers normal food as a threat and produces chemicals (immunoglobulin) to fight against it. These chemicals travel to the cells and cause allergic reactions.
  2. Amount of food consumed: Food intolerance will occur only when you eat a large portion of food, which you are intolerant to. Small portion will usually not cause any harm, e.g. if you are intolerant to milk, you can drink milk in form of tea or coffee without any harm. It is only when you consume it in a large quantity, will cause your body to react. Whereas, in food allergy even if you consume minute portion of food you are allergic to, your body will show the symptoms.
  3. Severity of symptoms: In food intolerance you will have quite milder symptoms like nausea, pain in abdomen, diarrhea, and gases because it’s just intolerance that means your body is not able to digest the food. However, if you have food allergy, you may have severe symptoms like breathing problems, throat tightness, coughing, vomiting, skin rashes, and swelling because here your immune system reacts by releasing chemicals in your body, which not only affect your digestive system but also will affect other important organs of your body. In short, food intolerance is related only to your digestive system but food allergy is related to your immune system.
  4. Causes: Food allergy may be due to deficiency of enzymes, which is necessary for food digestion. It has been found that food allergies run in families, suggesting that genetics can be one of the prime factors causing it. Food allergies are common with peanuts, fish, eggs, wheat and soya. Food intolerance is caused when your body is unable to digest food. Common food intolerance is lactose intolerance. It occurs when you are unable to digest lactose, which is a sugar found in milk and dairy products.

Managing food intolerance & allergies better

If you are suffering from food intolerance, just keep a check on what food causes you discomfort. No need to stop that food but you cut down the quantity of portion of that food in your daily diet. For food allergy you have to stop consuming that food completely, which is causing allergic reaction.

Also, you can do allergy test and find out which food is causing allergic reaction in you. Both these conditions need to be treated. Food allergies especially can be life threatening and need immediate & effective treatment. Homeopathy can treat food allergies with natural and safe medicines. Homeopathic treatment causes no side-effects and because it goes to the root of the problem, it gives long lasting results for food allergies.