Throughout all my years in the industry I often find myself defining the difference between food intolerance and a food allergy. This is how I explain this to my clients:
Food allergy, food intolerance, food sensitivity, food hypersensitivity... with so many names for food-related health issues, it is no wonder that it can be really tricky to figure out what exactly might be going on inside your body.
Through all of my years in the industry I often find myself defining the difference between food intolerance and a food allergy. This is how I explain this to my clients:
"Make no mistake, there is a clear difference between food intolerance and food allergy, and the easiest way to determine between these two is to listen to your body."
While food intolerance is usually linked to your digestive system and is not really life-threatening, food allergy affects your immune system and can be very dangerous if left untreated. While your father might enjoy breads, muffins, and pastas, and your best friend likes to start the day with a tall glass of milk and poached eggs, you might not be able to eat these foods and still feel great afterwards.
The symptoms for both food intolerance and an allergy can be similar, and range from diarrhoea, asthma, and nausea, to skin rashes and runny nose. The key difference is that food allergy symptoms occur shortly after eating just trace amounts of the trigger food, while food intolerance signs usually happen over a longer period of time and most often after a larger quantity of the particular food. The most common allergen foods are tree nuts, peanuts, eggs, milk, and shellfish, whereas food intolerances usually range from wheat, gluten, and dairy, to caffeine and histamine-rich foods like chocolate, cheese, and strawberries.
The biggest difference between these two conditions is found in the way the body reacts to the trigger food. When a food allergy is in question, the body will see the food as an attack on the immune system and produce antibodies to fight off the food. A food intolerance, on the other hand, will most likely happen in your digestive system and while you may find it difficult to digest the food, the condition won’t be really life-threatening. This doesn’t mean that food intolerance should be taken lightly, because even mild symptoms can be dangerous in the long run, and even more so on the mental health.
"It is inevitable that if food intolerance symptoms are left untreated, after a certain time one might feel as if though their health will never get better."
Another important thing to remember is that not all food-related symptoms are linked to food intolerance or allergies. While they might be very common food intolerance triggers; gluten and dairy can also feed the common yeast infection, candida, and cause leaky gut syndrome. Intestinal parasites might be another culprit for gas, bloating, diarrhoea, and IBS. It is important not to put off the discomfort and get to the root of the problem. We at Vibrant can help you reach optimum gut health, so that you can really enjoy the foods that will help your body flourish.
If you think you may have a food tolerance have a look at my article on Food Tolerance- 20 symptoms to look out for. And of course if you identify with any of these symptoms do get in touch and we’ll help you to identify what can work for you and get you back on track.