Food allergy

The Difference between a Food Intolerance, Sensitivity, and Allergy

Foods and drinks don’t always react with our bodies in the best of ways. If your body is sensitive to a specific food, you may begin to experience all sorts of unwanted symptoms after eating it. There are different levels of reaction that one can suffer. Food allergies are the most severe, followed by food intolerances and then food sensitivities. While all three of these involve an adverse reaction triggered by food, they are all very different. Keep reading below to learn more about the distinctions between these three and what to do if you believe you have one of them.

Food Allergy

An allergy is an immune system response to a specific food. It triggers symptoms that are often associated with allergies, such as skin hives, trouble breathing, and throat swelling. Food allergies can also cause gastrointestinal symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea, and cramping. These symptoms usually begin to appear immediately after ingesting the food in question. Most often, people who suffer from food allergies already know that they have them because of the quick and extreme reaction they cause. Food allergies affect children more than adults, and they tend to go away with age. It is estimated that only about 3 percent of adults in the United States suffer from a food allergy.

Food Intolerance

Food intolerances occur when your body doesn’t have an enzyme that is necessary to break down a specific food. This causes a response from the digestive system. Unlike food allergies, intolerances don’t trigger an immune system response. Instead, you may experience uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms. Food intolerances usually run in families. Additionally, unlike an allergy, someone with a food intolerance may be able to eat a small amount of the food without having any symptoms.

Upset stomach

Food Sensitivity

Sometimes, certain foods just don’t agree with people. If you have a food sensitivity, you may experience unwanted symptoms after eating a certain type of food. Unlike a food allergy, however, sensitivities are difficult to diagnose because the associated symptoms may be mild and may not arise until a few days after ingesting the item. That, however, doesn’t make them any less troubling. Sensitivities to dairy products, eggs, gluten, and peanuts are all fairly common among people of all ages.

What to Do if You Have a Food Problem

If you believe you have a food allergy, sensitivity, or intolerance, the first person you should talk to is your doctor or allergist. Only they can diagnose one of these issues. The symptoms of these food issues are similar to those of other conditions and could be caused by a number of things, including stress, digestive diseases, and hormonal changes. Your doctor will determine the root of your issue using tests, an elimination diet, and a food diary. Then, they’ll work with you to determine the best treatment plan. Those with allergies may benefit from holistic allergy treatment in Arlington Heights, IL. A personalized treatment plan is often the way to go for food intolerances, allergies, and sensitivities.

If you believe you have a food allergy, contact Midwest Allergy Relief Centers by visiting or call 847-392-7901 to schedule an appointment today!