Food Allergy vs Food Intolerance. What's the Difference?

Food Allergy vs a Food Intolerance. What’s the difference?

By November 2, 2015Blogs

What is the difference between a Food Allergy and a Food Intolerance? Learn the difference so you can get the correct test to eliminate your digestive and chronic fatigue symptoms.

Do you ever experience bloating, nausea, fatigue, muscle aches, brain fog or IBS type symptoms? If so, it may be due to a food intolerance or food sensitivity. Often we can consume certain foods and not experience an immediate reaction or symptom however; it is only after having the same food twice, three or maybe four times that all of a sudden our body reacts.

We consume food 4 – 6 times daily. Imagine the assault on your digestive tract and your immune system if you are actually eating foods up to 6 times a day that your body hates and finds inflammatory or disruptive. Is it any wonder that your gut hurts, you feel poorly and not vibrant and full of energy.

I get a number of people who rightly suspect that food is causing their symptoms and they call the clinic and ask for a food allergy test. I regularly find myself explaining the difference between a Food Allergy and a Food Intolerance.

Food Allergy

A food allergy is a reaction to food where there is an immunoglobulin IgE response. The symptoms of a food allergy often have a fast onset, are quite violent and can be life threatening. Common symptoms include redness, skin irritation, rashes, breathing difficulty and anaphylactic shock. The most common food allergy is a peanut allergy. There is no safe level of exposure for someone with a true food allergy.

Most people are aware of their allergies by the time that the come to see me in the clinic. It’s the more insidious food intolerances that people are not aware.


Food Intolerance

A food intolerance does not involve the immune mediated immunoglobulin IgE response and sometimes doesn’t even involve the immune system at all. This is the case with lactose intolerance where it’s the inability or absence of the lactase enzyme to break down the milk sugar lactose that create the problems commonly associated with lactose intolerance or dairy intolerance.

When the immune system is present it is an IgG mediated immune response. Their symptoms are less violent and their onset is much slower. TFood Intolerance Symptomshe most common symptoms associated with Food Intolerances are bloating, pain, discomfort, diarrhoea, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, flatulence, fatigue, sinus, eczema, dermititis, asthma and brain fog.  Food Intolerances do not cause anaphylaxic shock and are not life threatening though they can be very debilitating and seriously reduce a persons quality of life.

In my experience the most common foods that people are intolerant to are Wheat, Durum Wheat, Milk, Gluten intolerance, Eggs, Yeast and strangely enough Ginger. I know … Ginger!!!


Food Intolerance Test

Here at Capalaba Natural Health we offer a food intolerance test that shows if a client has an IgG mediated response to specific foods. A small blood sample is taken from a finger-prick which is all that is needed to complete the test. There is no need to send the sample away for pathology testing which can take up to 2 weeks. Instead we will have results within 30 minutes.

Foods Tested includeFood Intolerance Test


Corn, Durum Wheat, Oats, Rice, Rye, Wheat

Nuts & Beans

Almond, Brasil Nut, Cashew, Cocoa Bean, Peanut, Legume Mix (pea, lentil, haricot), Soya Bean, Walnut


Beef, Chicken, Lamb, Pork.


Freshwater Fish Mix (salmon, trout), Shellfish Mix (shrimp, prawn, crab, lobster, mussel), tuna, White Fish Mix (haddock, cod, plaice)


Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrot, Celery, Cucumber, Leek, Peppers (red, green, yellow), Potato


Apple, Blackcurrant, Grapefruit, Melon Mix (cantaloupe, water melon), Olive, Orange & Lemon, Strawberry, Tomato


Egg (whole), Cow’s Milk, Garlic, Ginger, Mushroom, Tea, Yeast.


Click here to find out more about Food Intolerance Testing at Capalaba Natural Health

Written by Award Winning Naturopath Tony Daniel ND

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