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Knowing The Difference Between Food Allergies and Food Intolerance Could Save Your Life

the difference between a food allergy and food intolerance
The Difference Between a food allergy and food intolerance

The Difference Between Food Allergies and Food Intolerance 

There's an essential difference between food allergies and food intolerance:

Food Allergy – Refers to the immune response your body has to certain foods such as cherries or strawberries.

For example, if you're allergic to these two fruits, then your body can have a serious reaction to them, and you  may suffer from anaphylaxis.

A food intolerance can irritate your system, but it won't initiate an immune response.

Understand the Danger of Food Intolerances

Food allergies are generally more dangerous than food intolerances. Yet, medical experts recommend that you stop eating foods that irritate you or make you feel sick.

You may need to seek immediate medical help if you have an allergic reaction to a food. Yet you may be able to avoid a hospital visit if you only have a food intolerances.

Serious allergic reactions to food can be life threatening and need to be handled immediately.

If you suspect you may have a serious food allergy, it's important to discuss it with your doctor. You may need an EpiPen or other medication that can save your life in an emergency.

Be Mindful of Your Body

It's important to pay attention to your body after you eat something so you can note which foods are contributing to any uncomfortable reaction you feel.

Keeping A Food Journal

When you're trying to discover food sensitivities it's a wise idea to keep a food journal to record when you cut or add back foods and any symptoms you notice.

The benefit of keeping notes is to give you a better idea of what foods could be causing your uncomfortable symptoms. If you like to keep digital notes, then there are helpful apps like MyFitnessPal and other tools on food journaling.

Testing For Food Sensitivity 

A Food Sensitivity Test along with a two-part elimination diet can be useful to help you identify problematic foods.

Before you start your two-part elimination diet, you can begin by taking a Food Sensitivity Test to get a personalized list of “suspect foods” based on IgG antibody reactivity levels. (IgG antibodies are part of your immune system)

The Two-Part Elimination Diet

Step 1: Eliminate Food Suspects

Part one of a two part elimination diet is when you temporarily remove specific foods that may be connected to the symptoms you're feeling, or foods you have a high or moderate reactivity to based on your Food Sensitivity Test results.

Step 2: Reintroduce Food Suspects

Part two comes after 30 days when you gradually reintroduce the “suspect foods” back into your diet.

The goal is to pinpoint the foods that are making you feel bad.

You may need to adjust your meals at home and be more aware of the ingredients in the food you eat away from home. You may need to cut some foods and substitute them for others.

Example Calendar of a Two-part Elimination Diet

Day 0

Review Food Sensitivity test results + make a plan for substitution foods

Day 1

Remove select food suspects from your diet.

Day 7

Check in with yourself.

How are you feeling?

Day 15

Reminder: You're half way there! Keep going!

Day 30

Add-back phase begins.

Add back food suspect 1

Day 30-34

Monitor symptoms:

Symptoms? Avoid this food

No symptoms? Add it back

Day 34

Add back food suspect 2

Day 34-38

Monitor symptoms:

Symptoms? Avoid this food

No symptoms? Add it back

Day 38

Make note of which foods you were able to reintroduce with no symptoms and which foods you have identified as food sensitivities.

Day 39

How are you feeling?

Understanding the Difficulty of Food Intolerances

A food intolerance can be more complex and difficult to understand.

Although your body doesn't have an immune response to an intolerance, you may still feel very sick. You may experience stomach issues, cramping, bloating, and other symptoms.

Lactose Intolerance

Lactose or gluten intolerance are examples of a food intolerance that isn't an allergy.

It's important to note that once you cut or stop eating the food that is causing the intolerance, then your symptoms go away.

Overlapping Symptoms

Food allergies and food intolerances can have overlapping symptoms. This complicates diagnosis and makes it more difficult to determine which one is happening in the body.

Overlapping symptoms can include stomach pain and other issues.

Possible Causes of Food Allergies and Intolerances

Scientists continue to research why and how food allergies and intolerances develop.

Genetics may play a role in food allergies and intolerances. If you have a family member who is allergic to soy or another food, then you may be at a higher risk of having a similar allergy.

Researchers have also found that the human body can lack certain enzymes that make it difficult to digest your food. This can also lead to a food intolerance.

Food Additives Can Create Intolerances

Food additives can also create intolerances because you may be sensitive to them. Packaged and processed foods have many chemicals in them that can lad to issues and intolerances. You may become sensitive to one or more chemical additives.

It's important to pay attention to the differences between food allergies and food intolerances. You may want to consult your health care provider about questions you may have related to food issues.

the difference between food allergies and food intolerance
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The information presented here is in no way meant to serve as medical advice. If you are experiencing symptoms of any kind, please consult with your physician.

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Written by Jackie Parker

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