Food Allergies vs Food Intolerance: An Infographic

I love this infographic by YorkTest because I constantly see the words allergies and intolerance or sensitivity used interchangeably. While they all have to do with foods, that’s where the similarities stop. This graphic makes a clear distinction between food allergies and food intolerances (also similar to sensitivities). I do want to make a couple of clarifications. There have been documented cases of IgE food allergic reactions that occurred more than two hours later, in some cases a day or so later. While this is rare, it can happen. It is also rare that someone has more than two food allergies, but sadly it is becoming less rare by the day, it seems. We’re seeing this mostly in children and it’s frightening. While food allergies can last a lifetime, it isn’t uncommon for children to grow out of them or at least see their reactions lessen in severity, which is the cause of much relief for the parents, as you can imagine. My son is one such example. He was born with only food intolerances, we knew they irritated his eczema, but that was it. By two years of age, some of the foods developed into true IgE allergies and we had several close calls and one frightening anaphylactic reaction – you can read about it here.



Food Intolerance vs Food Allergy


  1. Camilleta on June 3, 2014 at 10:51 am

    Thanks for posting this. I see people getting these mixed up all the time, including doctors!

    • Jennifer on June 4, 2014 at 10:05 pm

      Yes, I know! It’s really a shame there isn’t some sort of worldwide standard for defining allergies, sensitivities, and intolerances. The explanations are all over the board.

  2. pleasantandhome on June 3, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    Hey Jennifer! I found your blog a little while ago as I too am trying to help my daughter with her food allergies, sensitivities, and eczema (yup – we’ve got it all!) She happens to have a rare allergy called FPIES that isn’t really covered by the chart above so I just wanted to do my part to educate others! A lot of people – including medical professionals – aren’t aware of it, it can’t be tested for, and symptoms are delayed (at least 2 hours) making it difficult to diagnosis. But it can be very severe and life threatening. Here’s a link to the FPIES Foundation which gives a ton more information –

    • Jennifer on June 4, 2014 at 10:01 pm

      Hi there – I’ve heard FPIES mentioned quite a bit in the allergy, eczema, healing circles I visit. I’d love to learn more myself. Thank you for sharing this link. Jennifer

    • Megan on June 12, 2014 at 4:16 pm

      Another blog that I read is Her oldest has FPIES and I bet she can help 🙂

      • Jennifer on June 17, 2014 at 10:27 am

        Thank you! Great to know of another resource!

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