Difference Between Food Allergy and Food Sensitivity
While most food allergies cause relatively mild and minor symptoms, such as rashes or gastrointestinal discomfort, some allergies are more severe and can be life-threatening.

Eight foods account for 90 percent of all food-allergic reactions: milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat. While a lot of people will eventually grow out of allergies to milk, eggs, wheat or soy, allergies to peanuts and shellfish tend to be longer lasting and impose severe symptoms.

What is a Food Allergy?

A food allergy occurs when the immune system mistakes an ingredient in food as harmful and creates antibodies to fight it. These antibodies create the symptoms of a food allergy, such as rash or hives, nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea, itchy skin, shortness of breath, chest pain and anaphylaxis.

Food allergies, which can be genetic, affect about 4 percent of teens and adults and 5 percent of children, while food intolerances are much more common. Though most people will experience an unpleasant reaction to a certain type of food at some point in their lives, only way to diagnose a true food allergy is by visiting a medical doctor.

What is Food Intolerance?

While the symptoms are similar to food allergy, food intolerance occurs when an ingredients or compound in food irritates a person's digestive system or when a person is unable to properly digest the food. Symptoms of food intolerance are primarily gastrointestinal and include stomach pain, gas cramps or bloating, heartburn, vomiting and diarrhea. Intolerance to lactose, an ingredient in most milk and dairy products, is the most common food intolerance and affects about 10 percent of Americans.

There are a number of factors that may influence food intolerance. In some cases, as with lactose intolerance, the person lacks the chemicals to properly digest certain proteins found in food. While food allergies can be triggered by a smallest amount of the food in question, food intolerances are sometimes dose related and may not occur unless the person allergic consumes a large portion of the food. For example: a person with lactose intolerance may be able to drink milk in coffee, but will become sick if she drinks an entire glass of milk.

Keeping a food journal and tracking what you ate when symptoms occur can generally help diagnose food intolerances. Another way to diagnose food intolerance is to go on an elimination diet, which involves completely eliminating any suspect foods from your diet until you are symptom-free. You then begin to reintroduce the foods, one at a time. This can help you pinpoint which foods cause symptoms. Seek the advice of your health care provider or a registered dietitian before beginning an elimination diet to be sure your diet provides adequate nutrition

What is Food Sensitivity?

Food sensitivity is the least understood and most difficult to diagnose of the three afflictions. Generally, food sensitivity means that a person has a negative reaction to certain foods that do not always occur in the same way.

With a food sensitivity, a person might be able to consume a certain food occasionally without feeling any ill effects, but will sporadically develop symptoms such as acid reflex, nausea, abdominal cramps. These symptoms are unpredictable and the medical field is largely uncertain as to why they occur some times, but not others.

Read More:
http://www.webmd.com/allergies/foods-allergy-intolerance
http://www.foodallergy.org/section/allergens
http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodSafety/FoodAllergens/default.htm

More Food Facts

The Microbiome: You are What You Eat

The microbiome is the genetic material of all our microbes—bacteria, fungi, protozoa and viruses - that live on and inside the human body. Microbes outnumber our human cells ten to one.

The New Nutrition Label

The new Nutrition Facts Label is based on updated food consumption data, nutrient recommendations, the 2015 - 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and consumer behavior trends. These updates are reflected in the changes required in the label design, nutrient list, and serving size.

More from IFT right arrow

Home Cooking During COVID-19

With the commencement of stay-at-home orders, 88% of consumers are preparing more meals at home. Here’s a look at their habits.

Robot chef prepares tasty omelet; Transforming the food chain

News about food science research, food companies, food regulations, and consumer/marketplace trends.

Immunity on the Mind

Kerry Global Consumer Survey – Digestive & Immune Health, 2019

A Bountiful Array of Beneficial Ingredients

A round-up of innovative nutraceutical products available from suppliers.

Improving Spinach Juice Safety and Quality; Child Food Insecurity to Rise Due to COVID-19

News about food science research, food companies, food regulations, and consumer/marketplace trends.

IFTNEXT

Sucralose–carbohydrate combo may affect insulin sensitivity

A study found that people who drank beverages that contained the low-calorie sweetener sucralose did experience metabolic problems and issues with neural responses but only when the beverage was formulated with both sucralose and a tasteless sugar (maltodextrin).

The health benefits of fermented soy products

While investigating the link between consumption of soy products and all-cause mortality, researchers in Japan found that a higher intake of fermented soy products, such as natto and miso, was associated with a lower risk of mortality.

Researchers think coconut oil may help treat COVID-19 patients

As millions of patients and healthcare workers around the world fight COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, a group of scientists believe one potential treatment for the virus is already found on grocery store shelves: Virgin coconut oil (VCO).