Food Allergies : Food Sensitivity
Food Allergies, Sensitivities, or Intolerance
First we need to better define what is meant by the terms food allergy, intolerance, and food sensitivity. The term allergy was originally coined by von Pirquet to include both facets of the altered state; the beneficial was termed immunity and the harmful, hypersensitivity. Today, however, the term has become synonymous with hypersensitivity. Allergy, or hypersensitivity, may be defined as the altered reactivity to an antigen, which can result in pathologic reactions upon subsequent exposure to that particular antigen. The pathogenic effects of immunologic processes are separated into two hypersensitivity reactions, immediate and delayed. These immunologic reactions are further classified into Types I, (immediate) II, III, and IV (delayed).
Food intolerance is a reaction to foods due to a supposed, but not demonstrated, immunological mechanism or pharmacological property of the food.
Food sensitivity is stimulation of the body's defenses by a commonly eaten food. We will, for our discussion, use the term allergy to be synonymous with intolerance and sensitivity and we will only be concerned a with food sensitivities.