Non-allergic food hypersensitivities, such as intolerances, result from the inability to digest certain components of foods i.e. lactose or fructose, or, less commonly, food coloring, additives or preservatives. Non-allergic food hypersensitivities do not involve the immune system and are much more common than food allergies.
Food allergies arise through an immunological reaction to certain allergens in food. These allergens are almost always proteins. Other components in food, such as lactose and other carbohydrates, do not commonly act as allergens.
Certain allergens cause more reactions than others. Here are the eight most common allergens accounting for approximately 90 percent of all allergic reactions to food in children.1
Allergy is on the increase among infants and young children.2