Food Allergy VS Food Sensitivity
Are food allergies and food sensitivities the same thing?
No, they are different! The physical responses from allergies are different from sensitivities.
Food allergy means that after eating certain foods, the immune system regards the protein of the food as an invading pathogen and triggers an immune response, releasing Immunoglobulin E antibodies (IgE). In the process, as the antibodies fight against the foreign ‘invader’, histamine and other substances are also released. Thus, leading to allergic reactions.
The physical reaction to a food allergy is more immediate.
Symptoms of common food allergies include: skin rash with itchiness; sneezing and runny nose; itchy swelling around the lips and mouth, especially where they have been in direct contact with food; nausea; difficulty in breathing; spasms; cramps; vomiting and diarrhea, etc.
Severe food allergies can cause anaphylaxis, which can be fatal, and can be dangerous for people with respiratory conditions such as asthma.
Generally, skin patch test and blood allergy test are used in hospitals and clinics to detect allergies.
Food sensitivity means that after eating certain foods, the immune system also regards the protein of the food as an invading pathogen, and triggers an immune response, but this time it releases non-immunoglobulin E antibodies (non-IgE). The non-IgE antibodies then triggers a sensitive reaction.
The physical reaction of food allergy is delayed instead of immediate. The symptoms may appear several hours to several days after eating the allergen. As it is less obvious, it is difficult to associate physical symptoms with food, so some people also call food sensitivity as "hidden sensitivity".