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How do I know if I have food intolerance, or a food allergy?

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These clues can help you figure out if it is an allergy or intolerance. A doctor can help you know for sure.

Food Allergy:

Food Intolerance:

  • Usually comes on suddenly
  • Small amount of food can trigger
  • Happens every time you eat the food
  • Usually comes on gradually
  • May only happen when you eat a lot of the food
  • May only happen if you eat the food often

From: Food Allergy, or Something Else? WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES: 

News conference, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dec. 3, 2010.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. 

The Food Allergy Initiative.

Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar on November 17, 2018

SOURCES: 

News conference, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dec. 3, 2010.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. 

The Food Allergy Initiative.

Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar on November 17, 2018

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What are the symptoms of food intolerance?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

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