If you think you have a food allergy or intolerance, it's important to get a proper diagnosis. Don't cut food groups out of your diet without medical advice, because you could miss out on important nutrients.
Click on a type of food allergy or intolerance on the right-hand side to find out more.
What's the difference between allergy and intolerance?Food allergy and food intolerance are both a type of food sensitivity. When someone has a food allergy, their immune system reacts to a particular food as if it isn't safe. If someone has a severe food allergy, this can cause a life-threatening reaction. This means that people with food allergies, particularly peanut allergy, need to be extremely careful what they eat.
Food intolerance doesn't involve the immune system and is generally not life-threatening. But if someone eats a food they are intolerant to, this could make them feel ill or affect their long-term health.
Which foods cause food allergy?In theory, any food can cause a food allergy. But in fact just a handful of foods are to blame for 90% of allergic reactions to food in the UK. They are:
- cereals containing gluten (including wheat, rye, barley and oats)
- crustaceans (including crabs and prawns)
- molluscs (such as mussels and oysters)
- nuts (including Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, almonds and walnuts)
- peanuts (groundnuts or monkey nuts)
- sesame seeds
- sulphur dioxide or sulphites
In adults, most allergic reactions are to peanuts, nuts, fish, shellfish and wheat.
Children and food allergyIn children, the most common allergic reactions to food are to: