Food Allergies, Intolerances and Food-Borne Intoxications


NATO Advanced Training Course on Strategies for Achieving Food Security in Central Asia, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, 31 March - 02 April 2011, pp.93-108 identifier

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/978-94-007-2502-7_9
  • City: Bishkek
  • Country: Kyrgyzstan
  • Page Numbers: pp.93-108


Food sensitivities include many different types of sensitivities to food which may arise from a wide variety of reasons making it a complex, most of the times confusing and not easily defined area of study. Diagnosis can also be difficult because symptoms may be delayed for up to 2 days after a food has been consumed. In general, food sensitivities are the result of toxic responses to food and are divided into two categories: allergic responses; and food intolerances. Either food allergy, food intolerance or food intoxications affects nearly everyone at some point. When people have an unpleasant reaction to something they ate, they often think that they have an allergy to the food. Actually, only up to 3% of adults and 6-8% of children have clinically proven true allergic reactions to food. For those with food allergies, sensitivities or intolerances, avoiding specific foods and ingredients is an important health challenge. There is increasing evidence that food sensitivities are more common and have a wider and more varied impact on our health than previously realized. Although often equated with food allergies, food sensitivities also include food intolerances which, unlike allergies, are toxic reactions to foods that do not involve the immune system and are often more difficult to diagnose. Many of the symptoms of food sensitivities including vomiting, diarrhea, blood in the stool, eczema, urticaria (hives), skin rashes, wheezing and runny noses, are associated with an allergic reaction to specific foods. However, food sensitivities may also cause fatigue, gas, bloating, mood swings, nervousness, migraines and eating disorders. These symptoms which are more commonly related to food intolerance are less often associated with the consumption of food. Clinical research is accumulating evidence that the sensitivity to food can also increase the severity of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and other diseases normally not considered food related.