If you have heard about food intolerance or allergy, always bear in mind that both are different conditions with their own set of symptoms. You should know how to differentiate between the two conditions.
What is food allergy?
Food allergy is considered uncommon and typically triggers symptoms in just a few minutes after eating the offending food or being in contact with the substance. This is triggered once the body erroneously produces antibodies that fight off the food.
The symptoms typically include rashes, itching, wheezing, abdominal symptoms or abrupt collapse. Many individuals already recognize the food that causes the problem. It is recommended that the individual will undergo testing such as a skin test or blood test in order to confirm the food allergy.
What is food intolerance?
Food intolerance is quite common. The symptoms usually start in a slow rate and can be delayed for several hours after consumption of the offending food. Take note that the symptoms can last for many hours, even until the next day.
Intolerance to various foods or group of food is not unusual and it can be problematic to agree if food intolerance is the exact reason of chronic illness and the foods that are liable.
The indications of food intolerance tend to vary and can include bloating, fatigue, joint pain, irritable bowel, eczema, rashes, nettle rash and migraine. In some individuals, intolerance might only be a factor while in others; it might only worsen their underlying condition.
Causes of food intolerance
It is important to note that food intolerance can have various causes. In some individuals, they lack an enzyme required for proper digestion of the food. Others seem to be upset by certain substances that occur naturally in the food which do not affect others. In addition, there might be an increased sensitivity to the natural components such as food additives or caffeine. It simply means that a skin or blood test could not identify if an individual has intolerance.
What is the elimination and challenge diet?
An accurate way to determine if food intolerance is contributing to a chronic illness is the elimination and challenge diet. The dietitian will provide an elimination diet specially tailored to the specific needs of the individual. Remember that the elimination diet should be strictly followed and for the set period of time to be effective.
In case the symptoms subside or vanish with the removal of a certain food and the symptoms reappear with introduction, it will prove that the cause is dietary. If there is no change or improvement in the condition while on the elimination diet, food intolerance is not linked to the condition and the individual should return to normal eating.
What to do if food intolerance is suspected?
The ideal way to determine which foods are responsible for triggering adverse reactions involves accurate recording of the time and duration of all symptoms, stress or illness and everything that was eaten. This should include all prescribed medications and supplements.
This diary should continue up to 2 weeks and must be representative of the normal diet of the individual.