What is Food Intolerance?
Food Intolerance and Food allergy and are both types of ‘food sensitivity’ and both can make one feel very ill.
Food intolerance is an adverse reaction to a particular food. The symptoms can be unpleasant and in some cases, severe but are generally not life-threatening. Non-allergic food hypersensitivity is the medical name for food intolerance, loosely referred to as food hypersensitivity.
Food intolerances are often limited to the digestive system, usually mediated by IgG antibodies, as there is a problem digesting the food. It is more chronic, less acute, less obvious in its presentation, and often more difficult to diagnose than a food allergy. Symptoms of food intolerance vary greatly and can be mistaken for the symptoms of a food allergy. It can be difficult to determine the offending food causing food intolerance because the response generally takes place over a prolonged period of time.
The precise distinction between food intolerance and a food allergy is often missed. A true food allergy requires the presence of fast-acting immunoglobulin IgE antibodies against the food. If someone has a food allergy, this means his/her immune system reacts to a particular food. This causes immediate symptoms such as itchiness, rashes and swelling. Sometimes this reaction can be so severe that it can cause a life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis.
Thus the causative agent and the response are separated in time, and may not be obviously related.