The difference between food allergy and food intolerance

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The difference between food allergy and food intolerance

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Both food allergies and food intolerance have common symptoms but they are both different conditions. Most physical reactions to certain foods are caused by a food intolerance and not a food allergy. The signs and symptoms of both are similar and one is often confused for the other.


Let’s first talk of food allergy. It can be explained as the reaction of the immune system to a type of food, which it sees as an invader. A food allergy triggers the immune system to react in a way that it can affect numerous organs in the body. What follows can be a whole range of symptoms. An allergic food reaction, can at times be so severe as to be life-threatening. On the other hand, food intolerance symptoms are not so serious and can often be seen in the form of limited digestive problems.


Food allergy symptoms appear soon after eating the food while food intolerance symptoms appear later. Even a small amount of food can cause a severe reaction in the case of food allergy, but if you have food intolerance, you may not have a reaction if you have a small portion of the particular food. In fact you can even prevent a reaction. For instance if you are lactose intolerant, you can have lactose-free milk or take lactase enzyme pills to aid digestion.

    Causes of food intolerance include:

  • Absence of an enzyme needed to fully digest a food.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome that can cause cramping, constipation and diarrhea.
  • Sensitivity to food additives, eg, sulfites used to preserve dried fruit, canned goods and wine
  • Recurring stress or psychological factors
  • Celiac disease: This chronic digestive condition is triggered by eating gluten, a protein found in wheat and other grains.

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Sometimes it is tough to determine if a certain reaction is due to allergy or intolerance. Cow’s milk protein allergy is one such example. Some people exhibit an immune system mediated allergic reaction while for others it is a non-immune system reaction. The symptoms include diarrhea, bloating, abdominal pain, eczema. Around 2.75% of the population worldwide suffers from it.


A lot of people have problems with milk. But if you can take in small quantities without any reaction like looser stools and abdominal pain, it would indicate that you have food intolerance. The intolerance is for the A1 protein in milk. When you have A1 milk, a peptide called BCM7 is released during digestion. As per research, this peptide can cause inflammation and gut issues in some people. A2 milk is specifically suited for this type of intolerance and can be had without fear of a reaction.


A2 Milk is milk from the Indian Cows. So by consuming A2 milk not only that you can enjoy all you milk and milk based food but also increase your immunity to lot digestive disorders. So let us consume more milk and milk products from our Indian cows and increase their importance and population in our Country.



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