Food Allergies and Food Intolerances
Understand the Difference
What’s the difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance? What happens if you’re sensitive to certain foods, but not allergic? How do you know if allergens are present in the foods you eat? Each year, 30,000 people go to the emergency room and nearly 200 people die from allergic reactions, so it’s important to research these topics and choose foods that will help you and your loved ones thrive.
A food allergy occurs when the immune system produces an antibody in response to the protein in specific foods. Exposure to the food in even the tiniest amounts can produce immediate or delayed symptoms; some may be merely uncomfortable (hives, eczema, stomach upset, sinus problems) while others are life threatening (swelling of the tongue, closing of the throat). Food elimination diets, blood and/or lab tests are used as a part of the diagnosis. Did you know that many food allergies start during childhood, but adults can develop food allergies at any time?
A food intolerance happens when eating a certain food triggers a negative physiological response, but the immune system is not affected in the same way. Symptoms may take up to three days to kick in, making food intolerances very difficult to diagnose. Elimination diets and specialty tests are the most common methods for diagnosis. While not life-threatening, symptoms can be severe and range from gastrointestinal distress, headache and chronic fatigue.
We recommend that you talk to a doctor right away if you or a loved one experience symptoms of an allergy or intolerance. While following a new diagnosis or an elimination diet, allergy friendly foods can give you confidence in the food you eat. All Enjoy Life Foods products are free from gluten and 14 allergens – wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, casein, soy, egg, sesame, sulfites, lupin, mustard, fish, shellfish and crustaceans. In addition, most of our products are made in our very own allergy-friendly bakery!
For more helpful tips, see our Survival Guide to enjoying life without gluten and the most common allergens.
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