Physical reactions to certain foods are quite common. Did you notice strange red bumps on your skin after eating a handful of nuts or did you get a headache after eating a roti? While there can be several reasons why our body may react differently to certain foods, food allergies and food intolerances are among the most common reasons. However, most of us are unable to differentiate between the two food sensitivities. If you're someone who often faces a physical reaction after eating a particular type of food, we're here to help you out. In this article, we have curated a list of the key differences between a food allergy and a food intolerance that you should know about.
What Is A Food Allergy?
A food allergy is an immune system reaction that occurs soon after eating a certain type of food, identifying it as a danger. Even a small amount of that particular food can trigger a range of symptoms that can range from mild to severe. The most effective treatment for such allergies is to avoid the food that triggers it.
Symptoms Of Food Allergies:
- Abdominal pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Itching in the mouth
- Swelling of the face, mouth and eyes
What Are Some Common Food Allergies?
A wheat allergy is one of the most common food allergies. It occurs when our body produces an allergic response to the proteins found in wheat. This reaction can be severe and sometimes even fatal. While wheat allergy is common during childhood, it can also occur in adults.
Milk allergy is another common childhood food allergy. It is an abnormal immune system response to one or more of the proteins in milk. This allergy can cause a severe reaction called anaphylaxis. If not treated right away, people may have difficulty breathing.
Egg allergy symptoms usually occur a few minutes or to a few hours after eating foods containing eggs. Studies suggest that most of the proteins that trigger an egg allergy are found in egg whites, and not the yolks.
What Is A Food Intolerance?
Unlike food allergies, food intolerance occurs when our body is unable to digest certain foods. While it is something that is usually not serious, eating that particular food can make you feel unwell and nauseous. Symptoms associated with food intolerance can take hours to appear and in some cases, no symptoms may appear.
Symptoms Of Food Intolerances:
- Gas and bloating
- Headaches or migraines
What Are Some Common Food Intolerances?
Lactose intolerance is our body's inability to fully digest lactose in dairy products. This type of allergy is quite common and can lead to symptoms such as bloating, diarrhoea and abdominal pain.
Caffeine intolerance occurs when the body has a negative response to drinking caffeine. It can occur even with very small amounts, depending on how sensitive our gut is. Common symptoms include high blood pressure and insomnia.
Sulfites are chemical additives that are found in certain foods. They are commonly used as preservatives in foods and drinks and may trigger a range of symptoms. It can cause asthma, hives, coughing and wheezing.
So, the next time you face a physical reaction after eating a certain type of food, you'll be better equipped to figure out the differences between the two.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.
About Vaishali KapilaVaishali finds comfort in eating parathas and rajma chawal but is equally enthusiastic about exploring different cuisines. When she's not eating or baking, you can often find her curled up on the couch watching her favourite TV show - FRIENDS.