Food allergy is very different from food intolerance Food allergy always involves the immune system. Here, the immune system responds with a defence reaction to certain substances (proteins) which are harmless for a healthy person. Often, even minimal amounts (“traces”) are sufficient to trigger a reaction. Typical allergy symptoms include sneezing, skin rashes and itching, red eyes, and shortness of breath.
In food intolerance, the immune system is not involved. Here, one cause could be the under performance or lack of activity of the digestive enzymes in the gut. This can lead to various symptoms in the gastrointestinal tract upon ingestion of the relevant food in question. Here, the amount of food ingested is very relevant. Thus, in contrast to food allergy, small amounts are often tolerated well.
Where intake of cow’s milk causes a reaction, it is important to distinguish between genuine allergy to cow’s milk protein and lactose intolerance:
In the case of cow’s milk protein allergy, cow’s milk must be completely avoided, and in consultation with your doctor, a calcium-rich alternative is to be sought.
In the case of lactose intolerance, milk and daily products can be tolerated to individually differing degrees. Some people can have up to half a cup of milk or some yogurt without any problems, while others react even to minute amounts. With lactose intolerance, the body has difficulties breaking down the lactose contained in the food. Thus, lactose-free products can be recommended.
In case of suspected cow milk protein allergy or lactose intolerance, it is important to consult a physician as soon as possible. The physician will make a reliable diagnosis and help you.