Food Allergies & Intolerance

A food allergy is an immune system response. It happens when the body mistakes an ingredient in food as harmful and creates a defense system to fight it. Food allergy symptoms develop during the “battle of antibodies vs. food”. Most people with food allergies are allergic to nuts, shellfish, dairy, soy or wheat but there are many more. Food allergies affect about 2 to 4% of adults and 6 to 8% of children.


On the other hand, food intolerance is a digestive system response rather than an immune system response. This happens when something in a food irritates a person’s digestive system or when a person is unable to properly digest or breakdown, the food. Intolerance to gluten or lactose is the most common food intolerance but same as allergies to food, there are many more intolerances. Food intolerances are much more common. In fact, nearly everyone at one time has had an unpleasant reaction to something they ate.

Food allergies can be triggered by even a small amount of the food and occur every time the food is consumed. People with food allergies are generally advised to avoid the offending foods completely. For symptoms, think hives.

People with food intolerance may not have symptoms unless they eat a large portion of the food or eat the food frequently. For example, a person with lactose intolerance may be able to drink milk in coffee or a single glass of milk, but becomes sick if they drink several glasses of milk. Symptoms might be nausea or bloating. Now to get to the bottom of these food related conditions you can always keep a food diary, try the elimination diet (eliminating certain foods until you get relief) or take the ALCAT Test. This test is a key factor in identifying food allergies and intolerances for my patients.

The ALCAT Test identifies reactions to over 300 foods, chemicals and other substances associated with inflammation that are linked to chronic health problems like migraines, aching joints, fatigue, gastrointestinal disorders, eczema, hyperactivity/ADD, asthma and even obesity.