Food Allergy vs Food Intolerance:

Do you know the difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance?

Many people have adverse reactions to different foods, but this doesn’t mean that they have a food allergy. Food intolerances are more of a digestive issue than a immune problem. People who have an intolerance to food can have digestive issues such as diarrhea, gas & bloating.

While I’m not allergic to milk, I do have a dairy intolerance. I can’t always turn down a shake or a waffle cone filled with rich creamy ice-cream, but I do regret it later. Lactose intolerance is actually the most common food intolerance. Those of us who have this issue are missing an enzyme that helps to digest the sugar in milk from cows and other dairy products. Food intolerances usually come on gradually, are not life-threatening, and usually only happen when you eat a lot of the food or eat it often. There are ways to still have milk and other dairy products without them causing discomfort. Those include trying a lactose-free milk or taking a lactase enzyme pill (Lactaid is one type).

Lactose-Free-Soy-MilkFood allergies, however, usually have symptoms that come on much quicker, they happen every time that you eat that food, can be life-threatening, and only a small amount of the food could cause a big reaction. Symptoms may include rash, hives, shortness of breath, drop in blood pressure, chest pains, and others.

There are symptoms that can be related to both. Those include stomach pains, diarrhea, vomiting and nausea. If you feel that you have a food allergy or intolerance you should see a doctor who can help you figure out which one it is and how to prevent or help the problems associated with it. You can also keep a food diary, or take out certain foods until you can find which one/s are bothering you. Sharing these finding with your doctor could help in narrowing down what bothers you the most more quickly.