Monday, November 30, 2009

Food Intolerance versus Allergies - Part I

Leanne Cooper, a nutritionist from Organic Bubs, released a useful guide for parents about food intolerance and allergies. Kids are very sensitive to new ingredients, and understanding the differences between intolerance and allergy may be very helpful.

Below is the first part of the report. Stay tuned for the second and third parts tomorrow and Wednesday!

Food Intolerance versus Allergies - Part I

"Often the term "allergy" & "intolerance" are used interchangeably. Be aware that self-diagnosing can be risky, as not all reactions to food are what they seem. In fact, "allergy" & "intolerance" are different.

A food allergy involves an immune response to a food protein or similar large molecule. A good example is cows' milk protein allergy or peanut allergy.

Definitions of food intolerance are a little less clear. Generally, it is easier to think of it as a non-immune response where the body is unable to deal with a food compound. One of the best known examples is lactose intolerance where a baby may not have sufficient lactose (a digestive enzyme) to digest milk sugars. Food intolerance is much more common than food allergies.

While kids' immune system is still developing reactions to some foods may occur even in infants who do not have a family history. Foods that commonly cause reactions include:
gluten/wheat, dairy products, soy, eggs, fish & shell fish, tree nuts, citrus fruit and tomatoes.

If there is a history of food allergies, eczema or asthma in the family (particularly in a breastfeeding mother) it is recommended that a health professional be consulted. We don’t recommend restricting a child’s diet unless under professional supervision so that nutrients lost from the restricted food is gained elsewhere. Babies are growing at such a phenomenal rate that it is essential they get all the nutrition possible."

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