Food Allergy vs. Food Sensitivity

Daily, we encounter clients in our office that believe they have a food allergy.  Food allergies can present in many ways.  Typically, once the food is ingested, the individual may experience hives, itching, flush, stomach discomfort, uneasiness, vomiting and even perhaps angioedema or swelling of the lips and eyes.  Food allergies can be a medical emergency.  The most prominent one of these is allergy to peanut.  Approximately 1% of the general population is allergic to peanut.  This remains the number one related food for fatalities when it comes to food allergies.  Fortunately, there are some ongoing, promising studies currently underway that may produce a protocol of desensitization for the first time ever in food allergy.  2019 will be an exciting year to watch for developments.

Sensitivity is different than allergy, sensitivity is when the body has issues with absorption of a food.  This can lead to stomach upset, diarrhea and constipation.  Food sensitivities do not cause anaphylaxis such as peanuts or shellfish.   Sensitivities are bothersome, but not life threatening.

In both cases above, avoidance is the only option currently.  Food diaries can be kept to pinpoint what food may be a problem.  If you are unsure if a food is a sensitivity or an allergy, call us at 573-777-4700 to be evaluated.