Food allergy or intolerance
The term ‘food intolerance’ and ‘food allergy’ are often confused and are two very different things.
Genuine food allergy is relatively rare. Only about 2% of the adult population are affected. A food allergy is a swift response by the body’s immune system to a specific food. In this type of reaction, the body’s immune system mistakes a food for an ‘invader’ which often results in a rapid allergic reaction often within minutes, but generally within a maximum of two hours. This type of allergic reaction is commonly associated with reactions to peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs and seafood.
Food intolerance is quite different to food allergy and whilst the symptoms can impact the person’s quality of life, they are not life threatening. Food intolerances are much more common than food allergies.
When foods and drinks are digested the proteins within them are broken down into smaller fragments for easy absorption into the body. Larger fragments can pass through without breaking down, and sometimes the body reacts by attacking them using antibodies called Immunoglobulin G’s (IgG).