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What is meant by food intolerances

Both allergies and intolerances are grouped together under the umbrella term "food intolerances". However, there are clear differences between an allergy and an intolerance. Adjusting one's diet can, however, avoid the symptoms in the case of both an intolerance and an allergy.
In Switzerland, around two million people have a food intolerance. The most common ones are intolerance to lactose and intolerance to gluten, a grain protein.

Intolerance – what happens in the body?

A man and woman are finding out about food intolerances using a tablet.
The causes of a food intolerance include a lack of enzymes or limited transporters in the small intestine. As a result, lactose or fructose, for example, cannot be absorbed in the intestine. They remain undigested as they reach the large intestine, which leads to symptoms. The easiest way to determine food intolerances such as lactose intolerance or fructose malabsorption is to visit a doctor for a breath test.

What is a food allergy?

An allergy is an overreaction of the immune system. Currently, around 120 foods have been identified that can cause allergic reactions. Infants often react to foods that they have no problem tolerating as adults. These include: cow’s milk, hen’s eggs, peanuts and hazelnuts. Adults most frequently have allergic reactions to apples, hazelnuts, walnuts, kiwi and celery.
Typical allergic reactions include itching, redness or swelling of the skin and breathing problems. Other common symptoms of a food allergy include gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhoea, bloating or vomiting.
A young woman receives information about food allergies from a doctor.
Food allergies can also lead to life-threatening anaphylactic reactions. Such reactions are characterized by a drop in blood pressure, collapse and loss of consciousness. People who are known to have severe allergies must always carry an emergency kit with them. In an emergency, the ready-to-use adrenaline syringe in the kit is injected into the thigh.
An allergist should always be consulted in the case of a suspected allergy. They can test you for various food allergies and suggest appropriate treatment.

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