Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D., C.D.E., knows there is alot of confusion these days about food allergies. Do you have a food allergy? Or do you have a food intolerance? How do you tell?
An allergy will cause your body to go into attack mode, as though the food was a hostile invader. The immune system produces immunoglobulin E (IgE), initiating a response that results in numerous symptoms like breathing problems, hives, itchiness, and swelling in the face and the tongue. A severe allergic reaction can end in death.
"Unlike allergies, food intolerances are not life-threatening. Symptoms often occur long after you’ve eaten – even the next day. And they’re vague, ranging from bloating and diarrhea to headaches and lethargy.
"Although the immune system is sometimes involved, the protein IgE is not.
"Any food can cause intolerance and it can start at any age. But with intolerance, you may be able to eat small amounts of the offending food, like a scoop of ice cream, without a reaction."