Food intolerance is different from a food allergy, but many of the symptoms are the same. It can be difficult to tell the difference, so be sure to speak with your doctor if you suspect that you have an intolerance or food allergy. 

It is important to understand the difference because an allergy involves your immune system, which can lead to more severe symptoms and life-threatening reactions.

Understanding Food Allergies

More than 3 million food allergy cases are reported per year in the United States alone. Food allergies are very common and can be very dangerous. 

There is no way to know that you have an allergy until you are exposed to the food, but once identified, avoiding the cause is essential to your health. Food allergies cause an abnormal immune reaction in your body that produces varied symptoms.

Elimination diets are important for identifying foods you may have an intolerance for, and they are necessary for when you have food allergies because of the potential health consequences. 

While it is possible to be allergic to a wide variety of foods, there are some that are known to be the most common cause of intolerance and allergies.

Common Types of Food Allergies 


Lactose is the main carbohydrate in dairy products, and without the enzyme lactase, you cannot digest this into simple sugars for energy. As a result, you experience stomach pain, diarrhea, gas, bloating, and nausea

packaged goods

Sixty-five percent of the world has an allergy to lactose, and avoiding dairy products is the only solution for better health.


This is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, and it commonly causes intolerance symptoms. In severe cases, an allergy to gluten causes celiac disease, which significantly disrupts digestion and nutrient absorption. 

Serious damage to the lining of your intestine occurs in the presence of gluten. Those with gluten allergies or celiac disease must void gluten, and any products containing the protein by following a strict gluten-free diet.


Peanut allergies are very common as well as allergies to tree nuts. In most cases, if you are allergic to one type of nut, you are allergic to the other type, but that is not always the case. 

Some nut allergies cause severe reactions, including respiratory problems and difficulty breathing. If you know you are allergic to one type of nut, it is best to avoid all nuts and nut-containing products. 

a group of different types of nuts


This chemical found in teas, coffee, and sodas is meant to reduce fatigue and give you energy. Many people rely on daily doses of caffeine to get them through their day, while other people are highly sensitive to its effects. 

Accelerated heart rates and anxiety are common with caffeine allergies, and the immune system response makes these worse, as it releases chronic inflammatory responses to the allergen.


A large number of the population have difficulty digesting eggs or have allergic reactions to eating them. It is more often the case that the egg whites cause the reactions, and common symptoms are abdominal pain, diarrhea, and nausea or vomiting. 

It is important to avoid products that contain egg if the allergy to eggs is strong. 

a basket of eggs


These chemicals are used to preserve food and drinks. These are particularly dangerous for individuals with asthma, and consuming them can be life-threatening. 

Because of the health risk associated with sulfite allergy, the FDA mandates that they are to be listed on all food labels so those with allergies can avoid them. 


These are natural chemicals produced by plants as a defense against environmental stressors. They are known to have anti-inflammatory properties and have been known to protect against certain kinds of cancer. Excessive amounts can cause allergic reactions, including stuffiness, sinus infections, hives, asthma, and diarrhea.

It is hard to avoid these chemicals completely, but those with allergies need to stay away from high-salicylate foods like raisins, coffee, and oranges.


These are produced by bacteria during fermentation. The amine most commonly associated with food allergies is histamine, which is typically responsible for protecting the body from allergens. 

For those with intolerance or allergy to histamine, amines build up and cause rashes, headaches, hives, anxiety, and diarrhea. The foods you should avoid are fermented, cured meats, dried fruits, avocados, vinegar, and soured foods like buttermilk.


These are short-chain carbohydrates that cause digestive distress in those with an allergy. These carbohydrates are poorly absorbed in the small intestine and end up in the large intestine as fuel for gut bacteria. This causes digestive issues including diarrhea, bloating, abdominal pain, and in severe cases IBS. Foods to avoid are apples, milk, bread, beans, and soft cheeses.


This natural sweetener is consumed more than ever these days and is now linked to increased rates of obesity, heart disease, and liver disease. Those with an allergy to fructose are unable to absorb it, so it ends up in the large intestine where it is fermented by gut bacteria. Symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, bloating, acid reflux, and abdominal pain. 

a close-up of a person's face


Monosodium glutamate is a flavor-enhancing additive, and it has been found to cause unpleasant reactions in some people. Headaches, hives, and chest pain are common symptoms of an allergic reaction to MSG.

Sugar Alcohol

These are popular as replacements for sugar as they contain zero calories. For those allergic to these alcohols, digestive discomfort is common including, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and bloating.

Natural Treatment for Food Allergies

Food allergies cause damage to the gut as a result of the inflammatory response initiated by the allergen. Over time, this increases the risk of damage to the gut or causes leaky gut syndrome. There are natural options available to prevent and treat these inflammatory responses.

Prevent: Protect your gut from damage by strengthening the bacterial community. A strong microbiome protects your gut and promotes optimal digestion. S. boulardii has been proven to reduce inflammation that can be triggered by food allergies. You can also prevent the colonization of harmful bacteria with probiotics containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG.

Treat: CARE4U is a supplement that supplies HMOs (human milk oligosaccharides). These are sugars found naturally in human breast milk. Studies found these sugars can help adult digestive systems by treating leaky gut. Leaky gut is common after continual damage from allergic inflammatory attacks.

Heal: Any inflammatory damage that has been done can be treated with aloe vera leaf gel. This beneficial plant compound helps soothe and repair the intestinal wall. HMOs can also help to heal the gut wall from inflammatory damage.

The inflammation from food allergies can also damage the liver. Your liver is an important organ for digestion, and any damage will impair digestion and increase the risk of liver disease. Maintain optimal liver health with zinc supplements. Individuals with liver disease have shown a deficiency in zinc, indicating that this mineral plays a valuable role in liver health.

What Is the Long-Term Outlook?

Food allergies trigger your immune system, whereas intolerance does not, so allergy symptoms are more severe and can be life-threatening. If you have any allergies to food, it needs to be eliminated from your diet. If you suspect you have an intolerance, speak with your doctor to make sure you do not have a dangerous allergy instead. 

With testing and treatment, you can reduce symptoms associated with food intolerance, and by avoiding the food you are allergic to, you can enhance the quality of life and prevent serious health complications.