Food Allergies and Food Sensitivities – what is the difference?

Last article we spoke about a very common intolerance of wheat and gluten..this article I would like to get you thinking about the way the body works and what may be the underlying cause to the food intolerance in the first place. First, let’s get clear on the difference between a food intolerance /sensitivity or food allergy.

Food Allergy is a true allergic reaction to a food with an immunological response to food or drink, which the body sees as a hazard. It can result in swelling of the tongue, tingling around throat, difficulty breathing and sudden drop in blood pressure. In severe cases the body goes into anaphylactic shock. Most common allergens linked with anaphylaxis are nuts, shellfish, eggs, kiwi but there are others. The Irish Food Safety Authority statistics indicate that approximately 5% of children and 3% of adults actually suffer from food allergies.

Food Sensitivities: Many people suffer from symptoms ranging from a runny nose to hives, tiredness, skin rashes, bloating, frequent changes in bowel habits, wheezing and coughing. These unpleasant symptoms are normally a result of the inability of the digestive system to function properly. Main reasons for a mal functioning digestive tract are an imbalance in the acid alkaline levels in the gut, lack of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, lack of digestive enzymes, undigested food from poor chewing, an imbalance of toxins in the system such as parasites, yeast, bacteria, excess sugar in the diet, lack of sleep, poor dietary habits, eating the same foods everyday, high alcohol consumption, STRESS, adrenal exhaustion or burnout are all very common causes of food sensitivities. All of these areas need to be looked at to see if they are relevant to you.

Getting to the bottom of the sensitivity by finding out why you have a poor working digestive system is most important. Cutting specific foods out often do not solve the problem as it may not be the particular food. Even when you are eating healthy your body will not be able to absorb all of the nutrition that it needs when the enzymes are missing which leads onto a build-up of toxins in your system from the food. Most problematic foods are wheat, gluten, dairy/lactose, eggs because we have so many of these in our diet on a daily basis.  Normally when the system is fully restored the food does not continue to cause a problem. Moderation is key.