Confused about allergies

I'm confused as to whether I have a food allergy or intolerance. I've been having reactions to some foods that I have been eating lately. Don't worry I know which foods (I've been keeping a journal of everything I eat) and I've cut the suspect foods out of my diet. I need to know if I have a real allergy. What is the difference between the two and what are some of the symptoms?

By PeanutAllergy.com on Fri, 03-07-14, 01:07

Question of the Week: Answered!

Every week, PeanutAllergy.com is answering one of the questions posted in our community.

Our Answer:

It can be difficult to distinguish between a food allergy and a food intolerance. Many misuse the term “allergy” to describe an unpleasant experience with food. In reality, only 5 percent of children and 4 percent of adults actually have a diagnosed food allergy.

With a true food allergy, your body’s immune system reacts to the food you have ingested. The immune system will react to the food and interpret it as harmful, releasing antibodies that can cause various allergic reactions. Symptoms include rashes, digestive issues, a runny or stuffy nose, itching in or around the mouth and throat, shortness of breath and anaphylaxis.

A food intolerance occurs when your body lacks the enzyme to properly digest certain food. Symptoms tend to be milder than those experienced with a food allergy. Most symptoms of food intolerance affect the digestive system, including stomach discomfort, cramping, bloating, diarrhea, gas and/or constipation. Read more about food intolerance symptoms here.

We asked our Facebook fans for their input, and you can read their responses here.

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