Do you know the difference between a food allergy or intolerance? It's important you know what it means for you

August 21, 2019

 

 

People often say I am allergic to this food when in fact, in biochemical terms, they may not allergic to that food: they could intolerant to that food. Although many people use the terms food intolerance and food allergy interchangeably, the two conditions are different. Whilst reactions can often appear similarly unpleasant, food intolerances are easier to deal with.   

Food intolerance can be defined as the body's inability to accept a particular food or some of its molecules. This inability to accept the food is expressed by adverse reactions. Some of the reactions include vomiting, diarrhoea, flatulence, bloating, intestinal imbalance and inflammatory conditions.
 
These conditions in turn will lead to mal-absorption, loss of nutrients, weakness, fatigue, and increased susceptibility to diseases. However, in most cases, when there is intolerance to a specific food, the usual tendency is to avoid that food. A better alternative is to take supplements that correct the intolerance and ensure the bioavailability of the nutrients of that food.
 
Food intolerance results from an impaired digestion of the food molecules. The key molecular agents to perform the digestive function are the enzymes produced in the digestive system. However, for various reasons, some of the enzymes are missing, insufficient, and/or ineffective. As a result, some foods, based on their chemical composition, create various types of discomfort and other digestive disorders.
 
The types of reactions caused as a result of food intolerance are different from immune reactions and are often expressed as colics or abdominal pain, diarrhoea, oily stools, imbalances of gut probiotics, yeast infections and excess gas.
 
An allergy is always the result of an immune response to a molecule, and that molecule is invariably a molecular protein or a protein combined with some fat (lipoprotein) or some carbohydrate (glycoprotein).

If a protein is not fully digested, broken down, it has the ability, when introduced in a foreign body, to trigger an immune reaction. That immune reaction is expressed in the form of rashes, inflammations or anaphylactic reaction.

Besides fats and carbohydrates, there could be other molecules that could trigger some form of reaction similar to the ones associated with food intolerance.

Usually, those are relatively small molecules that could interact with the gut cells and trigger an adverse reaction like vomiting, nausea, toxicity, or increased peristaltic movement resulting in diarrhoea.

If you're having concerns about a food intolerance or allergy get in touch with us and visit our in-house Nutritionist to get an allergy test.  

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