Food Intolerance vs. Food Allergy: What Is the Difference?
Food allergies and intolerances are two different disorders that might behave similarly. Bloating, diarrhea, and gas are signs that your body is having trouble digesting a certain food or food component, such as lactose or gluten. Contrarily, food allergies happen when your immune system responds to a specific food as if it were harmful. This may cause symptoms including excessive swelling, which could be fatal. While a food allergy necessitates immediate medical attention, food intolerance can be uncomfortable but normally isn’t life-threatening. If you suspect that you have a food intolerance or allergy, visit us at Primary Care Center. Our board-certified professional, Dr. Niraj Choudhary, MD, and his team will take care of you. For more information, please contact us or schedule an appointment online. We are conveniently located at 360 E Medical Center Blvd Suite A Webster, TX 77598.
Table of Contents:
What are the 3 most common food intolerances?
Can you be intolerant but not allergic?
What are the differences between food intolerance and food allergies?
How long after eating does food intolerance start?
In cases of food intolerance, people are unable to digest certain foods and experience gastrointestinal disturbances when they eat them. Certain ingredients in food cannot be digested by the digestive system, resulting in food intolerance. The symptoms of food intolerance are usually digestive, and they are rarely harmful.
Lactose intolerance is the most common food intolerance. Lactose intolerance occurs when your body cannot digest lactose, a type of sugar found in milk and dairy products. Casein intolerance is a type of dairy intolerance, also known as cow’s milk protein intolerance. In cow’s milk, casein and whey account for about 80% of the total protein, while human milk contains only 40% (which is why our digestive systems are often unable to digest and process it).
When you become ill after eating gluten, you have gluten intolerance. There is a possibility that you will feel bloated, gassy, or tired. Many foods, especially wheat, contain some level of gluten, a protein. A person with gluten intolerance is also known as someone with non-celiac gluten sensitivity. This is not the same thing as celiac disease or wheat allergies. Gluten intolerance affects about 6% of the U.S. population.
It is common for people to experience physical reactions to certain foods, but most of these reactions are caused by intolerances rather than allergies. There are some similarities between food intolerances and food allergies, so they are often confused.
The immune system is affected by a true food allergy. Small amounts of the offending food can cause severe or even life-threatening symptoms. Food intolerances, on the other hand, affect the digestive system only and cause fewer serious symptoms.
Some people with food intolerances can eat small amounts of the offending food without experiencing any problems. The possibility of preventing a reaction is also there. If you are lactose intolerant, you may be able to drink lactose-free milk or take lactase enzyme pills (Lactaid).
Food intolerances are caused by either a body that cannot digest foods properly or by foods that irritate the digestive system. There are many symptoms of food intolerance, including but not limited to gas, cramps, nausea, belly pain, irritability, diarrhea, and headaches.
An allergic reaction occurs when food is perceived as an invader by the body’s immune system, which is normally responsible for fighting infections. Consequently, the body releases chemicals like histamine in response to the allergic reaction. Symptoms may include hives, vomiting, stomach pain, throat tightness, hoarseness, coughing, and breathing problems.
Despite previous mild reactions, someone with a food allergy is always at risk of having a life-threatening reaction in the future. Anaphylaxis could occur if a microscopic amount of food is consumed. Anyone with a food allergy must avoid the problem food(s) completely and carry an emergency injectable epinephrine kit at all times. Those with food sensitivities might be able to consume a small amount without any problems.
It is common for food intolerance symptoms to appear within 30 minutes of eating or drinking the food in question, but they may take up to 48 hours in some cases. The symptoms of this condition include nausea, bloating, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. An individual with a food allergy, on the other hand, may experience mild to severe symptoms immediately after eating or after several hours.
Anaphylactic shock, the most severe reaction, affects the whole body, presenting within an hour of contact. Due to the potentially fast-acting and severe symptoms, it is important to consult an allergist to determine whether you are suffering from intolerance or an allergy.
It is common for people to experience physical reactions to certain foods, and these can be caused by intolerances or allergies. Food intolerance and allergy testing are available at Primary Care Center. Book your next appointment now! For more information, please contact us or schedule an appointment online. We are conveniently located at 360 E Medical Center Blvd Suite A Webster, TX 77598. We serve patients from Webster TX, Seabrook TX, Friendswood TX, League City TX, Nassau Bay TX, and surrounding areas.
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