Food Allergy

  • S. Husby
  • S. Halken
  • A. Høst
Part of the Human Nutrition book series (HUNU)


Food allergy may be defined in several ways, ranging from a restricted purely immunologic IgE-mediated reaction to simply an adverse reaction to food, including entities such as enzymatic defects and pharmacologic reactions to foods. The American Academy of Allergy and Immunology (Metcalfe, 1984) suggested the definition of food hypersensitivity (allergy) as an immunologic reaction resulting from the ingestion of a food or food additive. Food intolerance was defined as a general term describing an abnormal physiologic response to an ingested food or food additive that is not proved to be immunologic in nature, including pharmacologic, metabolic, or toxic responses to food or food additives. In this chapter, food allergy and food intolerance are defined as above. However, even today the diagnosis of food allergy is mainly a clinical diagnosis. Laboratory measures are of only limited value and practically only related to IgE-mediated reactions. Thus, food intolerance may be difficult to distinguish clinically from food allergy and the two will be discussed together when relevant. Celiac disease is characterized by an immunologic reaction in the gut to gliadin from gluten and represents an exception to this definition, but is of course an important differential diagnosis to food allergy. Within food allergy several different immunologic reactions of the cellular and humoral immune system may be involved, also in the same patient (Bahna, 1985).


Atopic Dermatitis Celiac Disease Food Allergy Food Intolerance Food Hypersensitivity 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Husby
    • 1
  • S. Halken
    • 2
  • A. Høst
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsAarhus University HospitalAarhusDenmark
  2. 2.Department of PediatricsKolding HospitalKoldingDenmark
  3. 3.Department of PediatricsSønderborg HospitalSønderborgDenmark

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