Allergies or Intolerance

Allergies or Intolerance

13 – 19 May is Food Allergy Week.

Allergies or Intolerance: Did you know that here in Australia we have one of the highest incidences of food allergies in the western world?


First Aid Brisbane Allergy Awareness Training

A lot of confusion surrounds food allergy and intolerance with many people thinking it’s the same thing. Let’s look at the difference. To put it simply, food allergies are an immune response while food intolerance is a chemical reaction. People with food allergies can have anaphylactic reactions in a worst case, however people with food intolerance do not have anaphylactic responses.

So how can you tell the difference?

Most people are not even be aware that they are intolerant to certain foods. It has been found that it’s possible to have a sensitivity to almost any food; and can include lactose, eggs, MSG, citrus or wine to name but a few.

Symptoms can take up to 24-hours to appear, and may include pains in the abdominal area, bloating, perspiration, headaches, diarrhea or feeling fatigued.

When it comes to food allergies the most common are cow’s milk, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, fish, sesame, wheat and soy products. Reactions are usually immediate. Mild symptoms can be similar to those of intolerance however there are a few others including swelling around the eyes, face and lips, tingling lips, difficulty breathing, skin irritation, vomiting or nausea.

Look for signs 

Allergies or Intolerance

It’s worth noting that people who’ve previously experienced mild allergic reactions can have anaphylactic responses without warning.

If you regularly experience any of the symptoms mentioned it may be worth keeping a food diary. Don’t ignore the signs, either restrict or remove the ingredients from your diet and visit your health professional.

Once you’ve identified the cause

The good news is, by eliminating the offending foods from your diet you’ll feel so much better. Improved energy levels, less nausea and bloating, fewer headaches, improved skin can be among the benefits; depending on your symptoms.

When it comes to managing a food allergy or intolerance, one of the most important things to do is read the ingredient list on packaged products. In Australia, products that contain known allergens must be clearly labelled in bold type on the packaging. Food allergies and intolerance are very common in Australia and as a result you’ll find some great alternatives in the health section in your supermarket.

You may also be interested to know my Premium Breakfast Shakes are gluten free, nut free and have a full ingredient list shown on the product description on this website. Find out more

In the kitchen

If you or a family member has a food allergy you’ll need to be very strict to avoid cross-contamination as a person with an allergy will be triggered with even the smallest amount. Cutting boards and knives are two of the quickest ways to cross-contaminate food, always prepare the allergen-free food first, cover and set it aside.


A food allergy occurs when a person's immune system reacts to allergens that are harmless to other people. Most food allergies are caused by peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, sesame seeds, fish and shellfish, soy and wheat. These must be declared whenever they are present in food as ingredients (or as components of food additives or processing aids), however small the amounts present

Tree nuts

Lupin was added to the list of allergens that must be declared on 25 May 2017. Food businesses have 12 months from this date to meet mandatory allergen declaration requirements for any food products containing lupin.

Allergens and Food Lables

Allergen labelling Saves Lives


Adverse reactions to foods occur in a small proportion of the population. These reactions are not the same as allergies, but may include:

rashes and swelling of the skin, asthma, and stuffy or runny nose
irritable bowel symptoms, colic, bloating, and diarrhoea
migraines, headaches, lethargy, and irritability.
If you think you or your child has a food intolerance, it is important to seek advice from a medical practitioner since all of the symptoms you may be experiencing can also be caused by other disorders.

Both added ingredients, including food additives and processing aids, and naturally occurring food components, such as salicylates, lactose and gluten may be involved in food intolerance.

It may help to keep a food diary and note carefully any symptoms that may be related to food. To properly diagnose a food intolerance, the usual practice is to eliminate all suspect foods from the diet and then reintroduce them one by one, to see which food or component(s) of the food causes the reaction. This should only be done under medical supervision, since some of the reactions - such as asthma - can be serious.

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