Food Allergy vs Intolerance vs Sensitivity

Food intolerance or sensitivity Food allergy
Body System that causes it Digestive System Immune System
What it means Body can’t properly break it down or reacts to the food in an abnormal way Ex. lactose intolerance- your body Why do you have an intolerance? not having the right enzymes you need to digest a certain food reactions to food additives or preservatives like sulfites, MSG, or artificial colors pharmacological factors, like sensitivity to caffeine or other chemicals sensitivity to the sugars naturally found in certain foods like onions, broccoli, or Brussels sprouts Sometimes caused by IBS, celiac disease, or stress/psychological your immune system identifies a protein in something you eat as an invader, and reacts by producing antibodies to fight it The reaction is these antibodies battling the “invading” food protein Most commonly it is IgE-mediated reaction (immunoglobulin E). causes immediate reaction when histamine is released from mast cells Can be FATAL, unlike intolerance/sensitivity. Sometimes to the point where touching this food is dangerous
Most common forms Lactose intolerance The most common food allergies are shellfish, nuts, fish, eggs, peanuts, and milk
Symptoms gas and bloating diarrhea constipation cramping nausea Mild to moderate can be: Hives (reddish, swollen, itchy areas on the skin) Eczema flare (a persistent dry, itchy rash) Redness of the skin, particularly around the mouth or eyes Itchy mouth or ear canal Nausea or vomiting Diarrhea Stomach pain Nasal congestion or a runny nose Sneezing Slight, dry cough Odd taste in mouth Severe can be: Swelling of the lips, tongue, and/or throat that blocks breathing Trouble swallowing Shortness of breath or wheezing Turning blue Drop in blood pressure (feeling faint, confused, weak, passing out) Loss of consciousness Chest pain A weak or “thready” pulse Sense of “impending doom”
Diagnosis trial and error to find out what causes symptoms Food diary can be useful Elimination Diet- completely eliminate suspect foods, add back one by one to see what causes discomfort Seek advice from healthcare provider or RD before beginning elimination diet Skin prick test Blood Test Oral Food challenge
Management Treatment is based on avoiding or reducing your intake of problem foods and treating symptoms when you do eat a problem food for example, taking antacid for heartburn and stomach ache Avoidance of allergy food groups
NutritionRosa Hamalainen