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Allergy or intolerance? A quick refresher…

Written by : Geneviève Nadeau, RD, Nutritionist

Published on : 07-03-2016

How do you recognize a food allergy or intolerance? This guide may help you get to the bottom of things.

Food allergies

The molecule at cause?

Protein molecules in a food

The main known food allergens are:

  • Wheat
  • Egg
  • Milk
  • Sesame
  • Mustard
  • Nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Fish
  • Mollusks and shellfish
  • Sulfites

 

Be careful!

  • Although celiac disease causes the same reactions, it is not a food intolerance but a true gluten allergy (because it affect the immune system).

Symptoms

Red patches, swelling, itching, anaphylactic shock (difficulty breathing)

System affected

Immune system

Severity

Generally irreversible. The ingestion of the protein may cause death.

However, certain allergies disappear on their own during childhood (e.g., egg and milk allergies).

 

 

Food intolerance

The molecule at cause?

Generally, it’s a sugar molecule.

(e.g., the lactose found in milk)

Substances to which people may be intolerant:

  • Lactose
  • Fructose
  • MSG

Symptoms

Diarrhea, bloating, headaches

System affected

Digestive system

Severity

Can ease or worsen with time. Ingestion of the molecule at cause provokes more or less annoying symptoms.

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