- Food intolerances involve the digestive system.
- Food allergies involve the immune system.
Food intolerance or food allergy
If you have a food intolerance, you have trouble digesting a type of food. You may experience intestinal gas, painful abdominal cramping or diarrhea, as well as potentially serious long-term health consequences.
Examples of food intolerance include celiac disease (gluten intolerance) and lactose intolerance.
A food allergy is an IgE-mediated immune response to a protein in a food. Even eating a very small amount of the food or particles of the food can potentially trigger a life-threatening reaction.
People with food allergies are diagnosed by an allergist and prescribed an epinephrine auto-injector in case of a severe allergic reaction. Learn more about food allergy.
- Celiac disease can be diagnosed by a physician using a blood test and often runs in families. You may require an intestinal biopsy to confirm a diagnosis of celiac disease.