Food, glorious, food… though that isn’t always the case, unfortunately. In Australia, 10 per cent of infants and almost two per cent of adults are affected by food allergies – one of the highest rates in the world. In terms of food intolerances, up to 25 per cent of Aussies identify as having one.
The terms may seem interchangeable but a food allergy and a food intolerance are markedly different. A food allergy occurs when the immune system reacts badly to a particular food. The physical effects are the same as other allergies, such as pollen or dust: hives, facial swelling, vomiting, and, in the most severe cases, anaphylaxis, which can be fatal.
A food intolerance involves a bad reaction to a particular food or drink, though the immune system is not involved – it is based on sensitivity to or an inability to properly process food. The symptoms can range from fatigue to migraine to headaches to rashes to gastrointestinal issues.