Food intolerances are different than food allergies.
- Food intolerances involve the digestive system.
- Food allergies involve the immune system.
About Food Allergies
A food allergy is an IgE-mediated immune response to a protein in a food. Even eating a very small amount of the food or particles of the food can potentially trigger a life-threatening reaction.
People with food allergies are diagnosed by an allergist and prescribed an epinephrine auto-injector in case of a severe allergic reaction. Nobody knows yet what causes people to have food allergies, and there is no known cure. The best way to stay safe is to avoid the food, in any amount, and to always carry an auto-injector.
About Food Intolerances
A person with a food intolerance has difficulty digesting a type of food. They may experience intestinal gas, painful abdominal cramping, or diarrhea as well as potentially serious long-term health consequences. If you suspect you have a food intolerance, see your doctor.
Examples of food intolerance include celiac disease (gluten intolerance) and lactose intolerance. Celiac disease can be diagnosed by a physician using a blood test and often runs in families. Celiac disease may require an intestinal biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.