Difference between Allergy and Intolerance

Recent years have seen a noticeable rise in the prevalence of allergies and intolerances of all kinds, particularly to food and the weather. Both allergy and intolerance are common reactions, however, allergy is often an immune system reaction while intolerance is a digestive system reaction. People aren't getting the right therapy for their condition since the symptoms of allergies and intolerance are identical. This article compares and contrasts the two conditions to aid such persons in properly diagnosing and treating themselves.

What is Allergy?

An allergy arises when the body identifies a component in your diet as dangerous and builds a defense mechanism to fight against it. Surprisingly, this immune system error occurs in response to a protein, which the body incorrectly identifies as a harmful intruder and attacks with antibodies. Everyone seems allergic to something, but nobody knows what it is. Nuts, fish, milk, other dairy products, eggs, meat, etc. are some seemingly innocuous foods that might induce allergic reactions in certain people.

What is Intolerance?

It's true that some people just can't digest certain meals. Some people are intolerant to meals because they contain substances that aggravate their digestive systems. Some people may be intolerant to some foods because their digestive systems cannot fully break them down and digest them, but this does not stop them from eating them. Milk and other dairy products are a popular source of lactose, a sugar that can cause intolerance in certain people. Some people are lactose intolerant but are unaware of it, and as a result, they continue to consume dairy products while suffering from a variety of health problems.

Common Symptoms

One of the challenges in diagnosing many illnesses is that many of the symptoms present in allergies and intolerances are shared. Food allergy symptoms include hives, vomiting, diarrhea, chest discomfort, itching, shortness of breath, and stomach ache. The opposite is true for intolerance, which typically manifests with nausea, vomiting, migraines, diarrhea, irritability, gas, bloating, heartburn, and stomach discomfort.

Almost 1% of the population suffers from allergies, with the prevalence rising to 7% in youngsters. To a greater extent, nearly everyone is intolerant to at least one type of food.

Differences: Allergy and Intolerance

The following table highlights the differences between Allergy and Intolerance −

Characteristics Allergy Intolerance
Causes Allergens in food that can cause symptoms with even a tiny quantity of the offending food. The amount of food eaten is typically correlated with intolerance.
Criteria Even a bite of the food you are allergic to can cause an allergic reaction. Only after consuming a substantial amount of the offending food does intolerance manifest.
If you have lactose intolerance, you can consume tea and coffee without any ill effects, but milk will cause you trouble.


Allergies to certain foods nearly usually need medical treatment to pinpoint the root cause of symptoms. Food intolerance is easy to self−diagnose and cure. Despite this, anybody with either condition should consult a medical professional for guidance and treatment options.