Food Allergy vs. Food Sensitivity: Is There a Difference?

by | Oct 20, 2021

The terms ‘food allergy’ and ‘food sensitivity’ are many times used interchangeably. In reality, however, there IS a difference between the two and it’s important to understand.  Our immune system creates two main types of antibodies (IgG and IgE) to fight off what it sees as foreign invaders.  Some of the invaders the immune system sees as foreign are viruses, bacteria, and certain foods if you are allergic or sensitive to one.

What is a food allergy?

A food allergy or IgE response is when your body’s immune system immediately reacts in an exaggerated manner after being exposed to a particular food. It’s important to realize that some food allergies can cause very severe reactions. For example, someone with a peanut allergy can experience a severe reaction with exposure to just a tiny amount of the allergen.  The body believes the nut is dangerous and releases IgE antibodies to fight it causing the below symptoms.

Common food allergy symptoms include:

  • Hives/skin rash
  • Swelling
  • Itching
  • Dizziness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing (anaphylaxis)

What is food sensitivity?

In contrast, food sensitivity is a more delayed IgG reaction. This reaction is less severe but causes a wide range of symptoms that can take anywhere from a few hours to three days to manifest. Eating foods you are sensitive to repeatedly will set off a cascade of inflammation, over time resulting in more serious health conditions. Food sensitivities can develop over time and are often linked to gut dysbiosis, or an imbalance in the gut flora. 

Common food sensitivity symptoms include:

  • Brain Fog
  • Learning difficulties
  • ADHD symptoms in children
  • Mood Disturbance
  • Muscle/Joint Pain
  • Headaches
  • Skin Rashes
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Difficulty losing weight

Food allergy vs. food sensitivity … Which is it?

Food allergies are generally present early on in life and are detected with testing typically through a skin prick test where the body is exposed to a small amount of the allergen.  Food sensitivities can develop over time and are easily tested through a finger prick blood test.

Find freedom through healthy living

At Designed Family Wellness, I work with both adults and children who have food sensitivities. I work to find what stressors are leading to imbalances in the gut, allowing these particles to cross into the bloodstream triggering an immune reaction. I help identify your specific nutritional needs and then work with you to create and implement a Personalized Wellness Plan. You do not have to live with these symptoms. There is a road back to a healthier, happier you.

Schedule a consultation today to learn how I can be your partner in health and help you enjoy healthy living to its fullest!

Find freedom through healthy living with Designed Family Wellness.

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