Chat with us, powered by LiveChat Food Allergy vs Food Intolerance | Allergy Test Ireland | Blog

Bloated stomach every time you eat? A headache after every Guinness? (No not a hangover!) Or a runny nose every time you eat bread? It could be that you have either a food allergy or food intolerance. Below are three simple ways which explain how you can tell the difference between an allergy and an intolerance, and food sensitivity

1) Reactions happen immediately

Food allergy symptoms will present themselves between two to four hours after the offending item has been assumed. In the worst case, an allergy symptom will be present almost immediately. The symptoms of a food allergy can be incredibly severe, often painful and there is the chance that they may be life-threatening. Food labelling standards over in the UK, in particular, have been ramped up recently due to the number of people that are suffering an allergic reaction in foods that claim not to contain the offending item. If a food allergy is untreated it can be very dangerous and if you suspect that you have an allergy, then we recommend you immediately consult your doctor.

Food intolerance symptoms are not as serious but can still affect someone’s work and social life in a big way. The symptoms can also appear up to 72 hours after you have consumed an item that you are intolerant to. This makes them more difficult to diagnose without an intolerance test. To find out what is causing your food intolerance, please click here.

2) The severity of symptoms differs

If a food allergy goes untreated, it is potentially life-threatening, especially due to anaphylaxis shock. If you have a food allergy then after eating a particular item you can get an itchy sensation inside your mouth, or a raised itchy red rash upon your skin. To foods that you may be more allergic to, an individual may experience swelling of the face, particularly around the lips and eyes, and you may experience vomiting. So, next time you eat a stew or gulp a Guinness at the races or rugby, you should make sure you do not have a food allergy to any of the ingredients.

However, differing from a food allergy, if you have a food intolerance, the symptoms may occur up to 72 hours afterward. With an intolerance test, you can wave goodbye to a bloated stomach, headache and runny nose if you stop consuming what might be causing your food intolerance. What will help you to eliminate your symptoms will be an elimination diet, this is an effective and simple way to manage your symptoms. If you are suffering from food intolerance and you try an elimination diet without first identifying what is causing your bloated stomach or a headache, then it can be time consuming or laborious.

3) The cause of your food allergy or intolerance

A food allergy can be hereditary, whereas food intolerance can be caused by overindulgence on a particular ingredient. If you are constantly eating something every day, then your body can sometimes struggle to tolerate that food any longer. If you follow an elimination diet for six to eight weeks, then after this time has passed, you should be able to consume this food again. If it is a food allergy then we recommend you avoid this food for a lifetime.

Food allergy is completely different. Food allergies happen when the immune system thinks an item is bad when actually it is normal. The body mistakenly treats proteins as a threat when actually the could be beneficial to someone’s health. Almost any foods are able to cause an allergic reaction, and it is very important that you consult your doctor if you suspect that you have an allergy.

For more information on food intolerances and ordering a food intolerance test, please do speak to our customer service advisors via LiveChat on If you suspect that you might have a food allergy, please consult your doctor immediately!