Difference Between Food Allergy and Food Intolerance

Food Allergy vs Food Intolerance

Food allergy and food intolerance are frequently confusing terms, which involve in misleading the real concept of each other. Both of them are known as adverse responses to foods we ingested. Signs and symptoms, amount of food cause to initiate the reaction, medication and prevention are varying due to several factors. Nevertheless, it basically depends on the person; external environmental conditions also play a vital role in controlling the harmful impacts.

What is Food allergy?

It is an adverse immune response to food protein. Allergic reactions are similar to the reactions in immune system to foreign pathogens. When the protein is mistakenly identified as a harmful component by the immune system, the adverse reaction will occur until the harmful compound is destroyed. The misidentification is done by the immune system in accordance to the message received from immunoglobulin E (IgE) by tagging the protein as harmful. Then it triggers an allergic reaction. Amount of food needed to trigger the reaction and symptoms of allergies can vary from person to person. Some of the most common food allergies are allergies to oil seeds, which contain proteins, milk, eggs, seafoods, soy and wheat. However, the most common compound in the food, which causes to allergic reactions, is food proteins. An allergy can be externally identified by its signs and symptoms such as hives, etching and swelling of the mouth, lips and skin, wheezing, nausea and vomiting. Proper breastfeeding and following a strictly controlled diet are some of the major ways to prevent this type of problems.

What is Food intolerance?

Food intolerance, or in medical terms Non-allergic food hypersensitivity or simply food hypersensitivity, is not a true food allergy. Food intolerance, also previously known as pseudo-allergic reactions, is a negative reaction, which can produce symptoms in one or more body organs and systems as a result of injection of food. The food can vary from normal fruits and vegetables to complex food items as beverages and additives. Classification of food intolerance is done based on their mechanisms. Absence of specific enzymes or chemicals for the digestion of a given food, inefficient nutrient absorption, naturally occurring chemicals and non-IgE-mediated immune responses are the main mechanisms to intolerant the ingested foods. Some of the most common food intolerances are namely lactose intolerance, hereditary fructose intolerance, drug intolerance and salicylate sensitivity. Lactose intolerance is the most popular, which is due to a deficiency in digestive enzymes. Lactose intolerating people cannot digest milk and milk products due to insufficient lactase enzyme to digest the lactose in milk. Symptoms of food intolerance incidences are more or less similar to the symptoms of food allergies. These symptoms often occur in the gastrointestinal track, respiratory track and skin, either individually or in combination.

What is the difference between Food Allergy and Food Intolerance?

• In true food allergy, the reaction takes place in immune system is engaged with immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies against the food, but food intolerance does not.

• Although the mechanisms have considerable variation, symptoms can be mistaken from one to another.

• Food allergy is mainly engaged with intake of proteins, whereas intolerance can be due to a variety of food substances.