From restaurants to grocery shops, the market for meals that appeal to dietary restrictions is quite expansive in regions of the nation. But this multitude of alternatives may make it confusing for somebody who might experience mild signs of distress after eating particular foods — but are not certain where they may fall upon the “sensitivity” spectrum. Are symptoms such as upset stomach and nausea after a meal suggestive of an “allergy” to a specific food, or simply “intolerance”? There are, when these terms are frequently used interchangeably.

The immune system vs. the digestive system

The difference between food allergies versus sensitivities is the real result of the food stimulation of that the body, based on Healthline. With food allergies, the immune system elicits a reaction in the body, imitating the meals as a “hazard”. This may cause mild symptoms such as nausea and itching, to more severe reactions such as nausea, swelling, as well as anaphylaxis (that could be deadly).


Food sensitivity and intolerance, on the other hand, trigger reactions within the digestive tract of the body and are not. Symptoms may include gas, bloating, nausea, constipation, cramping, or nausea.

Food allergies

In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food allergies have been estimated to affect 4 percent of adults and 4% — 6 percent of children. Allergies can develop at any age and may start after ingesting a food for a long time while most common in babies and children.


More than 160 foods can promote allergic reactions;however, the FDA identifies 8. These include:

  1. Milk
  2. Eggs
  3. Fish
  4. Crustacean shellfish (such as crab, lobster, and shrimp)
  5. Tree nuts (such as almonds, walnuts, and pecans)
  6. Peanuts
  7. Wheat and other grains with gluten (such as barley, rye, and oats)
  8. Soy

Less frequent allergy triggers might also consist of seeds, corn (such as sesame, sunflower, poppy) and specific spices (such as coriander, mustard), states WebMD.


Even though nearly all food-related symptoms happen in just 2 hours of ingestion, they are even able to start within minutes (frequently true in acute reactions). Quite rarely, four to half an hour or longer may delay responses, says the American College of Asthma, Allergy & Immunology.


Since they might not be marked, it is important to check labels. As an example, a tag may say comprises “lecithin (soy)”, setting the possible allergen component in parenthesis instead of recorded first. Beauty and health products are excluded, like shampoos and cosmetics, which could contain allergens such as wheat proteins or nut extracts.


Food allergies can’t be treated, and comprehension of avoidance of certain foods and symptoms might help remove the threat. The American College of Asthma, Allergy & Immunology says that food allergies are hereditary, but this might not always be true. An allergist can determine allergies through skin evaluations and/or blood tests. Oral food evaluations (including tracking under medical supervision) might also be utilized. Nutritionists and dieticians may be resources.

Food intolerance and sensitivity

The symptoms may be embarrassing while food sensitivity and intolerance might not be life-threatening such as a food allergy. Additionally, intolerance and food sensitivity can be tricky to determine sometimes without triggering a response, because foods could be consumed, indicates WebMD.


According to WebMD, some possible causes of food intolerance or sensitivity might consist of inadequate natural digestive enzymes (frequent in people with no gallbladder, for example ), particular health conditions (such as celiac disease or irritable bowel syndrome), sensitivity to additives (including MSG or sulfites), as well as emotional variables (for instance, a negative predisposition towards certain foods).


Individuals with sensitivities might have the ability to enjoy foods that they love with the assistance of enzymes, or even by selecting foods formulated to be free from ingredients that are symptom-triggering such as gluten and lactose free. It is very important to exercise caution since they might become a more serious food allergy symptoms that might require investigation and therapy and be aware of fluctuations in food responses.