Health News

Food Allergy or Intolerance

You’re celebrating your child’s birthday and you reward your inner party planner by indulging in a slice of dedicate cake. The rich icing and mousse filling is almost too much to bear but you forge ahead and finish every. last. morsel.

Now you’re unwinding on the couch only to have stomach cramps creeping into your “me” time. “I knew the chocolate ganache wouldn’t sit well with me. It never does,” you regretfully say to yourself as you begin writhing in pain.


Millions of Americans experience some form of food intolerance, yet many don’t even realize it. For others, certain foods can trigger an allergic response. So how can you tell the difference between food allergies and food intolerance?

Key Differences
While symptoms for both conditions can overlap, food intolerance does not trigger an immune response. Meaning when someone with food allergies ingests a trigger food, their body mistakes it as something harmful. It reacts by creating antibodies used to “fight” the invader. The most common foods that illicit allergic reactions are: shellfish, nuts, fish, eggs, peanuts, and milk.

Symptoms of food allergies can range from mild to severe and include:
Rash or hives
Cramping stomach pain
Itchy skin
Shortness of breath
Chest pain
Swelling of the airways to the lungs

Fortunately, children can outgrow their allergies, so it’s important to retest your little one as they get older.

Those who suffer from food intolerance, experience digestive issues, particularly when eating dairy products, gluten grains, and foods that cause intestinal gas buildup, like beans. Unlike food allergies, symptoms of food intolerance tend to take longer to appear. And generally, even the tiniest amounts of food triggers can generate food allergy symptoms. Whereas, with food intolerance, ingesting small portions of trigger foods will usually have no effect.

Additional symptoms of food intolerance can include:
Stomach pain
Gas, cramps or bloating
Irritability or nervousness