While nearly 85 million Americans have food allergies, it is important to understand the difference between food allergies and food intolerances. Food allergies are actual immunoglobin E (IgE) antibody responses to counteract an actual food allergy. Symptoms of food allergies can include itchiness, hives, swelling, trouble breathing, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting or gagging. Some reactions to food allergies can be more severe or life-threatening. Food intolerances do not elicit IgE mediated responses, although the symptoms of intolerances may be similar to that of allergic reactions. In addition, things such as abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea also mimic symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, which makes identifying food intolerances that much more frustrating. If you suspect your body is having a reaction to a certain food, it is recommended you visit an allergist and/or a registered dietitian where you can receive more objective information as compared to something like a food sensitivity test.
Cheyenne is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist located in the Charleston, SC area.