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Food Allergies Versus Food Intolerance: What You Should Know

By HERWriter
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Around 6 percent of people with allergies have food and drug allergies, and children are more likely to have this type of allergy than adults, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Though food intolerance is different than food allergies, the two are often confused.

Food allergies happen in people with overly sensitive immune systems (at least for certain types of food or drink). The body is trying to fight off the supposed intruder, so there is a negative reaction to the allergen (or food), according to the AAFA Web site.

Here are symptoms of food allergies, according to the Centers for Disease Control:

• hives
• tingling in the mouth
• swelling in the tongue and throat
• difficulty breathing
• abdominal cramps
• vomiting or diarrhea
• eczema or rash
• coughing or wheezing
• loss of consciousness
• dizziness

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, the most common foods that people have allergies to are proteins in cow’s milk, eggs, peanuts, soy, wheat, fish, shellfish and tree nuts.

There are many resources for those with food allergies, including a blog, www.foodallergybuzz.com, that shares news about products that are food allergy friendly or just news in general about food allergies.

Food intolerance is not considered an allergy, though many people mistake it as food allergies. The digestive system is the one reacting in the case of food intolerance, not the immune system. The digestive system can have problems digesting certain foods, which leads to certain cases like lactose intolerance, according to the AAFA Web site.

According to www.foodintol.com, about 75 percent of Americans are affected by lactose intolerance.

Here are some symptoms of food intolerance, according to the Web site:

• Abdominal cramps
• Bloating
• Flatulence
• Weight loss
• Malnutrition
• Slow growth
• Abdominal distention
• Abdominal fullness, gaseous
• Diarrhea
• Floating stools
• Foul-smelling stools

If you expect you might have food intolerance, it is best to do a food elimination diet to see which foods might be triggering a negative reaction with your digestive system, according to www.drweil.com. However, you should consult your doctor for more information and to create a safe, healthy diet plan.

For those who want more information, some books that look promising are “Food Allergies and Food Intolerance: The Complete Guide to Their Identification and Treatment,” by Jonathan Brostoff, M.D. Also, there is the “Food Allergy Survival Guide: Surviving and Thriving With Food Allergies and Sensitivities,” by Vesanto Melina. There are plenty of other cookbooks and guides for those who are interested. I would suggest going to www.amazon.com or www.half.com for cheap selections.



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EmpowHER Guest

Thanks so much for including www.foodallergybuzz.com!

September 16, 2009 - 11:52am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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