Allergy, intolerance, aversion and food poisoning: know the differences

Allergy, intolerance, aversion, food poisoning… Do you know the differences between these 4 situations? They may present similar symptoms, however, the causes are very different from each other. We will help you identify each process and know the reasons that can trigger it.

Differences between allergy, intolerance, aversion and food poisoning

1. Allergy

It is a reaction of the immune system to something that is not harmful, called an allergen. It is, therefore, about A response to a false alarm that involves a symptomatology characterized by:

  • Tingling or itching
  • Edema
  • Urticaria
  • Swelling in tongue and throat
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea or nausea
  • Vomiting and dizziness

Allergies can present different intensities, from mild processes to a shock anaphylactic. These The latter can be fatal and are fought by drug injections.

The cause of allergies is usually certain proteins present in shellfish, nuts, fish, eggs, milk or wheat. Ingestion of a small amount of these proteins can initiate the process mediated by IgE antibodies.

It is important to consult the doctor if you feel oppression of the airways, lower blood pressure, rapid pulse or dizziness and lightheadedness.

Food allergies occur when the immune system reacts to the presence of allergens. In this case, it can occur after eating seafood, nuts, fish, eggs, among others.


A food intolerance is an unfavorable reaction derived from the ingestion of certain foods. ORcurre because of improper digestion, metabolization or assimilation of food, which triggers adverse effects in the body.

It can be primary if it is hereditary, secondary if the origin is not genetic or can be reversible in a certain period of time, or congenital if it is hereditary and present from birth.

The compounds most likely to cause food intolerance are lactose and gluten, however, Many others can cause intolerance. Normally, the symptomatology of intolerance involves:

  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Dermatological discomfort
  • Neurological problems
  • Weight gain
  • Muscle problems or rheumatism

The most notable differences with respect to allergy are that Intolerance does not depend on the immune system and its symptomatology is less acute.

In recent years, individual studies have been conducted in which intolerance to certain foods is assessed from a blood test, however, These results do not present scientific evidence.

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It is one of the most common eating disorders during the first 3 years of life. It is a persistent rejection of certain foods because of their organoleptic characteristics. His symptoms include facial grimaces of disgrace, vomiting and expulsion of the food itself.

Often, it is a condition that is part of a sensory processing disorder, so it is accompanied by other sensory problems. Usually, It is detected from the constant rejection of the child towards the introduction of new foods.

However, the food he likes eats it without any problem. Without nutritional supplements, these children will demonstrate nutritional deficiency, but not stunted growth. It is not associated with food allergies or traumatic experiences.

Aversion is the persistent rejection of certain foods because of their organoleptic characteristics. It is very common among young children and can lead to nutritional deficiencies.

Food poisoning

This is the last of these 4 different situations. It occurs from the ingestion of a food or liquid that contains bacteria, viruses, parasites or toxins produced by them. It can be triggered by risk factors such as:

  • Not wash your hands properly
  • Do not use clean kitchen utensils
  • Errors in food preservation
  • Ingestion of water from a well or contaminated

Symptomatology includes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, pain or muscle cramps and fever. These signs can start from hours after ingesting the contaminated product until weeks later.

It is necessary to consult the doctor if frequent episodes of vomiting or bloody stools occur or if the diarrhea lasts more than 3 days. Attention should also be sought if high fever develops or if there are symptoms of dehydration or muscle tingling.

The most frequent food poisonings are those produced by the Costridium Botulinum, E.Coli and Salmonella. Most of the strains of these microorganisms are found in meat and eggs or in open preserves kept at an incorrect temperature.

Therefore, it is crucial to maintain proper food hygiene and preserve food properly. For it, It is convenient to find out what kind of storage and handling should be given to each type of food.

You may be interested: Frozen foods: everything you need to know


Now you know the differences between these 4 situations. Despite the similarities in the symptomatology, Identifying the source of the problem will allow an efficient solution and avoid major complications in the medium and long term.

It is crucial to identify the differences between allergy and intolerance, as they are often confused. When in doubt, it is always a good option to consult the doctor before the process leads to a major complication.