Food intolerances and allergies can be confusing to navigate, which is why guidelines recommend seeing a specialist allergy or food intolerance dietitian in order to effectively support you.
Food intolerance is caused by the digestive system’s response to food. It occurs when you are unable to properly break down the food. It can be caused by an enzyme deficiency, sensitivity to food additives or reactions to naturally occurring chemicals in foods. Often, people can eat small amounts of the food without causing problems. For example, lactose intolerance happens when the enzyme which breaks down lactose is not present in the digestive system. Intolerance can also be in reaction to a multitude of chemicals which either occur naturally in food or are added to foods during processing (e.g., histamines, salicylates and sulphites). If you experience tummy pain, bloating, wind, or diarrhoea after eating, it could be due to a food intolerance.
Conversely, allergy is caused by the immune system’s response to food. That response can be immediate, but it can also involve a delayed reaction, even as much as 48 hours after ingestion. In the case of immediate food allergy, our bodies produce antibodies against a food protein, which can result in a variety of symptoms such as hives, itching and vomiting. Delayed food allergy also involves the immune system but instead of antibodies, other types of immune cells are involved.
We are experts in helping determine whether a specific food or component really doesn’t agree with you or whether there is actually another cause for your gut symptoms, such as IBS. We have experts in this field (both adult and paediatric, allergy or food intolerance dietitian), so get in touch if you’d like to book a consultation!