A new study suggests that most people who think that they may have allergies to certain foods may actually do not. A recent study organized by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases reports that while 30 percent of people believe that they have food allergies, only fewer than 5 percent actually do. The said study was published in the May issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The team of researchers looked into 72 previous food allergy studies published between 1988 and 2009 after going through over 12,000 published papers. The study found out that there were a combination of factors that may have led to the overestimation of food allergies. Some of the factors include doctors commonly misdiagnosing food allergies, tests that gave foggy results and people incorrectly self-diagnosing an allergy. People who misdiagnose themselves as allergic to certain foods do not actually know the difference between an allergy and a simple intolerance to certain foods. By definition, an allergy is a bodily reaction that usually involves the immune system.
When a person is allergic to a certain food, the body’s immune system reacts similar to what happens when a parasite invades it. Intolerance on the other hand, may involve the digestive system which may react badly to a certain food and causes certain symptoms. Intolerance to food can also have its own consequences but they are relatively less dangerous and more common in people than allergies.