The word from the nutritionist

Allergy or food intolerance?

Many times we confuse the allergies with the food intolerances, but they are two different diseases, although often the symptoms are equal.

The food allergy is a rapid and exaggerated reaction of the immune system to the ingestion of a determinate food. The reaction takes place in a few minutes after the ingestion (from 2’-3’ to 30-120’), often in a very aggressive way, and it’s sufficient a little quantity of the responsible aliment.

In a food intolerance the symptoms are influenced by the quantity of ingested food and caused by particular molecules present in the aliments, or by of the digestive system. Often the symptoms are similar to the ones of allergy, but they don’t involve the immune system and have a tardive appearance.

There are also the pseudo-allergic reactions that have all characteristics of the allergies, except for the involvement of the immune system. They are caused by food rich in tirammina or istamina, for example the strawberries.

The food allergies are influenced by the food habits of the local population: for example the rice allergy is unknown in Italy while it is very frequent in the Asian Countries where the consume of this cereal is very high. The researchers don’t know why some people suffer from allergy, but it is certain that they can be genetic and that they can change in the age.

Unfortunately, the allergies influence life in a negative way and they can be a danger for people’s health. The symptoms can be very different: cutaneous reaction, gastroenteritis and even anaphylactic shock. For these reasons, those who suffer from allergy have to exclude completely the allergen food from their diet.


Published 08 March 2016