Is There A Difference Between Food Allergies And Intolerances?

Published: November 30, 2020
Dear TeenHealthFX,
Is there a difference between food allergies and intolerances? I am being tested for them but don't really understand how it works.
Signed: Is There A Difference Between Food Allergies And Intolerances?

Dear Is There A Difference Between Food Allergies And Intolerances?,

In short, yes there is a difference. When it comes to food allergies, the mayo clinic explains that it is a full body immune response which can lead to extremely severe side effects. Have you ever heard of someone not being able to breathe after eating shellfish or even peanut butter? This is because the body goes into attack mode and mistakes the food item as an intruder. In some cases, food allergies can be life threatening which is why people need to carry epi-pens in case of exposure to the food item.

When it comes to food intolerances, the side effects may range from very little to moderate. Sometimes intolerances are caused because you lack a digestive enzyme or possibly have a digestion disorder. For example, someone who is lactose intolerant does not have the lactase enzyme to digest the dairy product properly. The person can probably still drink milk or eat dairy and will be fine. However, he or she may experience a range of side effects as a result such as upset stomach, vomiting, stomach pain or diarrhea. This reaction will go away shortly after the food.

Good luck with your results! Make sure you follow what the doctor says. 

Signed: TeenHealthFX