Dr Norman Swan discusses the difference between food allergies and food sensitivities
There is a large number of food allergies and food sensitivities that people can get. If you regularly get a reaction to a food, it could just be a food sensitivity.
Food allergies themselves, like peanut allergy, can give you anything from a rash to breathing problems. They can be really quite serious. You can get these reactions from egg, milk and fish as well. These foods tend to be the common causes of food allergies.
In other cases people can get food sensitivities. You do not necessarily have to have celiac disease, you can have gluten sensitivity, which affects approximately 10 or 15% of the population. Gluten sensitivity can cause bloating, irritable bowel syndrome and changes in bowel habit. After consuming particular foods, bowel syndromes can cause tummy pain and so on. Some people can even get migraine from chocolate and citrus foods, for example.
Therefore it’s not just tummy problems we need to be aware of. Very often food allergy and food sensitivity often get rolled into one, which means if you think you’ve got either of those two, you really need to talk to your GP so that it can get sorted out properly.
Dr Norman Swan, Physician and Journalist