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What is the difference between a food allergy and intolerance?

A food intolerance is not the same as a food allergy. A food allergy involves an immune system response and can be life threatening, whilst a food intolerance does not and is not life threatening.

People with a food intolerance may have generic digestive symptoms such as diarrhoea, bloating and stomach cramps. This is usually caused by problems digesting certain foods or substances due to an enzyme deficiency. However, no allergic reaction takes place.

Here is a list of features common with either a food allergy or intolerance:

Symptoms

Quantity

Common foods that cause allergies and intolerances:

Allergies: Fish, eggs, peanuts, nuts, milk, shellfish, wheat

Intolerances: Citrus fruit, grains containing gluten, milk, beans, cabbage