Is It A Food Allergy…Or Food Intolerance?

allergy word cloud
( — It’s all too common to hear a friend or family member shoo away food and claim they’re allergic to it. But the truth is, only about 4 percent of the population has food allergies – with African Americans and children leading the way with having the greatest risks of food allergy.

“People use the term ‘allergies’ very loosely to refer to anything they have a reaction to,” explains Dr. Laura Esswein, an allergist with Mercy Medical Group in St. Louis. ” While ‘allergy’ refers to a special type of response.”

Food intolerance and food allergies are often thought of as the same thing, used interchangeably, or mixed up with one another says Lisa Frazier, a clinical dietitian with Skaggs Regional Medical Center.

In recent years, medical researchers have reported an increase in people with both food allergies and food intolerance; however, it is important to note the clear differences between the two.