Do you know the distinction between a food allergy and an intolerance?

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Set of food that cause allergy on wooden table

People’s eating behaviours have changed as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic, and as diet consciousness has taken hold, people have adjusted their eating habits by paying attention to social media. Beyond eating the recommended daily servings of the necessary food groups, it’s crucial to know which foods, if any, you should avoid because food allergies and intolerances (or sensitivities) affect many people. It’s important to understand the differences because food intolerance and food allergy are frequently confused, so it’s important to know them.

Dr. Akash Shah, Consultant Pathologist at Neuberg Supratech Reference Laboratories, stated in an interview that a food allergy occurs when the immunological response to a particular dietary protein occurs (allergen). Normally, when the immune system recognises a hazardous material, it freaks out. It accomplishes this by strengthening the antibodies. The immune system of a person who has a food allergy recognises a particular protein as dangerous and produces antibodies to combat it. Numerous symptoms, such as skin rashes and breathing difficulties, result from this. Egg, milk, peanut, tree nuts, sesame, fish, seafood, wheat, and soy are the foods most frequently involved.

Contrarily, he emphasised that “food intolerances involve problems digesting foods. Food intolerances can be brought on by a deficiency of an enzyme necessary for the proper digestion of specific meals or, less frequently, by an allergic reaction to food additives or other chemicals. People who have food intolerances may be able to eat tiny amounts of problematic foods before their bodies respond when they consume too much. For instance, many of us who are lactose intolerant find that we can have yoghurt or other low-lactose foods with meals without developing any symptoms.

How can you know if you have food allergies or intolerances?

“Food intolerance testing is an in vitro diagnostic test for the diagnosis of intolerance against 280+ food antigens,” said Dr. Akash Shah in response. Blood is used for this examination. It can be used to track dietary compliance and support dietary adjustment. It is vital to review the results with a doctor or a nutritionist before making dietary changes based on the results.

“Food allergy testing is done using a variety of methodologies, including Immunocap, Microarray, and ELISA,” he continued. Food intolerance is a less severe reaction to food that causes discomfort in daily life, whereas food allergy is a severe allergic reaction to food that can be fatal when it results in anaphylactic reactions.