A lot of confusion exists about the differences between food allergies and food intolerances.
A food allergy is caused when the body’s immune system mistakes a food ingredient (usually a protein) as harmful and produces antibodies to fight it. The allergic reaction is a result of the antibodies fighting off the perceived invader. Even a very small amount of the allergy-causing food can trigger a reaction. Allergic reactions can range from relatively mild symptoms like hives, vomiting, diarrhea, sneezing and a running nose, to more severe symptoms like swelling of the lips, trouble swallowing, chest pain and loss of consciousness. Anaphylaxis, a life-threatening condition, is the most severe allergic reaction and involves swelling of the throat, rise in heart rate and sudden drop in blood pressure. Milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat account for about 90% of all food allergies.