Many people confuse their food intolerance with food allergy. However, there is much difference in both problems. Here is how a food intolerance differs from a food allergy. However, in either case, you will need intolerance testing.
A food allergy is an immune system reaction (your body’s defense against infection). Food proteins are incorrectly viewed as a danger by your immune system. It may cause allergy symptoms such as a rash, wheezing, and itching after just a small amount of the meal is consumed (these symptoms usually happen quickly). It is frequently related to specific foods. Fish and shellfish allergies, as well as nut allergies, are common in adults. Milk, eggs, fish, peanuts, and other nuts are common food allergies among children. It has the potential to be life-threatening
Food intolerance does not involve your immune system — no allergic reaction occurs, and it is never fatal. It produces symptoms that appear gradually, usually a few hours after consuming the offending meal. Only if you consume a significant amount of the meal, you will experience symptoms (unlike an allergy, where just traces can trigger a reaction). It can be induced by a variety of foods.
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What creates an intolerance to certain foods?
It’s not always evident why someone is allergic to specific foods. However, if you experience symptoms after eating dairy products, you may have lactose intolerance. Lactose, a natural sugar present in milk, yogurt, and soft cheeses, cannot be digested by your body. Lactose intolerance is usually diagnosed by a doctor based on your symptoms and medical history.
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Some people have difficulties digesting wheat, and after eating bread, they have bloating, wind, diarrhea, sickness, and stomach pain. Even a food additive, chemical, or pollutant could be the blame. These include glutamate monosodium (MSG), caffeine, alcohol, sweeteners synthesized, histamine, food colors, preservatives, or flavor enhancers that are artificial.
What am I going to do about it?
If you know you’re intolerant to a certain food, the only way to handle it is to stop eating it for a while and then slowly reintroduce little amounts while keeping track of how much you can consume without experiencing symptoms.
If you suspect your child has a food intolerance, see a doctor or a dietician before removing foods from his or her diet, as a restricted diet may interfere with their growth and development. For example, cow’s milk is a good source of calcium, vitamin D, and protein.
When should I consult a specialist?
If your doctor is unsure what’s causing your symptoms and more testing is needed, he or she may send you to a specialist. Your child may be referred if he or she has digestive symptoms (such as stomach pain and diarrhea) and shows the following symptoms:
- He is not flourishing
- He hasn’t responded to any of your healthcare provider’s recommended elimination diets
- He has had an unexpected or strong reaction to a food
- He has a suspected food allergy.