The terms “allergy” and “intolerance” are often confused or used synonymously, but it is important to understand that they are two different conditions.
WHAT DISTINGUISHES THEM?
In food allergy, food is seen as a threat by the body and defenses are activated to fight it. Ingestion of food is not necessary for reaction to occur, simple contact or inhalation may be sufficient.
In food intolerance, the body has difficulty digesting and/or absorbing food and defenses are not involved. For the reaction to occur, food must be ingested.
- The severity of the reaction:
In allergy, reactions can involve different parts of the body (stomach, intestine, skin, respiratory system) or involve the whole body. In severe cases, anaphylaxis can occur, which can be fatal.
In intolerance, the reactions mainly involve the stomach and intestines, but they can also manifest in other parts of the body. It can cause a lot of discomfort, but the reactions are never fatal.
- The responsible food component:
Allergies are usually caused by proteins;
Intolerances can be caused by any component of the food.
In case of suspected allergy, skin tests and blood tests are performed.
The diagnosis of intolerance is longer and more difficult, through clinical and food history and tests for exclusion and reintroduction of the suspected food in the diet. WHAT CAN LEAD TO CONFUSION BETWEEN THEM?
The same food can trigger both types of reactions, for example milk: cow's milk protein can cause allergy; and lactose (milk sugar) can cause intolerance due to lactase enzyme defect.
Sometimes they can manifest in similar ways, especially when the reactions are milder. WHAT DO THEY HAVE IN COMMON?
They are both hypersensitivity reactions to foods, the only effective treatment for which is to eliminate the responsible food from the diet. Fidu products
are free of the main substances that cause allergies and intolerances and their traces, being safe for both.
Based on information from WAO, EAAIC, SPAIC and FARE.