It can be hard to decipher the difference between a food sensitivity and a true food allergy. The biggest difference is the body’s response.
When you have a food allergy, your immune system causes the reaction. Your immune system overreacts by producing antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE). These antibodies travel to cells that release chemicals, causing an allergic reaction. Symptoms of food allergy include hives, swelling, itching, anaphylaxis, and dizziness.
If you have a food sensitivity or intolerance, the reaction is triggered by the digestive system. It occurs when you are unable to properly breakdown the food. This could be due to enzyme deficiencies (e.g., lactose intolerance), sensitivity to food additives, or reactions to naturally occurring chemicals in foods. Symptoms of food sensitivity/intolerance include gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, cramping, and nausea.
It’s important if you suspect your child has a food allergy to contact their doctor immediately for further testing and reach out to the INTENT Study at (firstname.lastname@example.org).