Food intolerances and food allergies can have similar symptoms
and be confusing to differentiate. To avoid confusion, The Food
Werewolf prefers to use the term ‘sensitivities’ to cover all possible
levels of reactions or symptoms to food.
Here’s a quick guide to recognize the difference between
intolerances and allergies.A FOOD INTOLERANCE…
** Is an adverse ‘chemical’ reaction some people have after eating
or drinking certain foods or drinks
** Is an inability to digest a food
** Is far more common (up to 25% of the population) than food
** Does NOT involve the immune system
** Does NOT show on allergy testing
** Does NOT cause severe, life-threatening allergic symptoms/
reactions such as anaphylaxis
** Can be caused by unnatural e.g. colouring, preservatives (and
a multitude of additives or ‘numbers’ etc) and natural (e.g.
amines, salicylates, casein, gluten, lactose, glutamates etc)
food substances or ingredients
** Symptoms and reactions are usually related to the amount of
food consumed i.e. it has a cumulative effect, which means a
threshold level has to be reached first and this level varies as it
is unique to each person
** Symptoms may not be immediate, they can be show up straight
away, or take up to 12-24 hours to develop (and then take up
to 3 weeks or more to get out of your system)SYMPTOMS OF FOOD INTOLERANCE CAN INCLUDE
** Nervousness, tremor
** Sweating
** Palpitations
** Rapid breathing
** Headache, migraine
** Diarrhoea
** Burning sensations on the skin
** Tightness across the face and chest
** Breathing problems – asthma-like symptoms
** Milk/Lactose/other dairy products
** Gluten
** Wheat
** Eggs
** Food additives (such as colouring and preservatives)
** Flavour enhancers (such as MSG)
** Strawberries
** Citrus fruits
** Tomatoes
** Wine (especially red wine)
** Chocolate
** Is an immune system reaction to a food i.e. your immune
system reacts to a food as if it were a toxin
** Reactions occur because your body produces antibodies to
fight against the protein (allergen) in the food. Histamines and
other defensive chemicals are then released, which leads to
inflammation and severe symptoms in your respiratory system,
gastrointestinal tract, skin and/or cardiovascular system

** Symptoms usually occur very soon after consuming the food
** Occurs in approximately 1 in 20 children and 1 in 100 adults
in NSW
** Australia has one of the highest food allergy prevalence rates
in the world
** Can cause severe, life-threatening reactions e.g. anaphylaxis
** In adults, it is usually a single food that causes an allergy, but in
children there are commonly two or three foods to which they
are allergic
** Low blood pressure, dizziness, faintness or collapse
** Swelling of the lips and throat, nausea and feeling bloated,
burning, itching and swelling around the mouth, tightness in
the throat
** Diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting
** Dry, itchy throat and tongue, coughing, wheezing and shortness
of breath and a runny or blocked nose
** Itchy skin, a rash, hives (skin becomes red and raised and
sore), red and itchy eyes
** Anaphylaxis (rapid presence and spreading of hives, swelling
of face, tongue and throat, breathing difficulties, wheezing,
vomiting and loss of consciousness)NB: anaphylaxis is life
threatening and immediate treatment is necessary

Nuts, eggs, milk or soy cause about 90% of food allergies. Peanut
allergy is one of the most common allergies in older children. Other
common allergens are found in;
** Other nuts
** Sesame
** Gluten
** Fish
** Grains, such as rye, wheat, oats
** Molluscs, such as oysters, mussels, clam, squid and octopus
** Crustaceans, such as lobster, prawn, crab, shrimp
** Fruit, berries, tomato, cucumber, white potato or mustard
** Food additives like benzoates, salicylates, MSG and sulphite

If you suspect you or your children have any symptoms of allergies,
please seek appropriate health care. There are also many great
websites for support and more information.
Whether it’s a food intolerance or food allergy, there is one thing in
common – food. No matter what the food or symptoms, the best
form of action is to change the way you are eating to decrease your
chances of having a reaction. How you change, what you change
and how much you change is totally unique to your family’s needs.
To cover all levels of food sensitivities and individual needs – be
it intolerance or allergy – The Food Werewolf helps families make
lasting change at a level that is uniquely tailored to them.
For more information on additives which may cause intolerances
and allergies, click here.
For information on how to make a change to your family’s eating
plan and start avoiding foods to which you are sensitive, click here.