Food intolerance or allergy: can you make sense of it?

This week sees the publication of Making Sense of Allergies, the latest guide from Sense About Science, which they’ve put together with input from Cochrane and several other organizations. There’s a need for reliable information about allergies and how they differ from intolerances, as 13 year old Edward Conroy explains in this guest blog on

Do you have a food allergy or intolerance? It’s likely that either you or someone you know does. Yet lots of people aren’t sure of the difference between allergy and intolerance and it’s an important one!

My name is Edward Conroy and I have been diagnosed as being firstly lactose intolerant and subsequently dairy intolerant. I have experienced many symptoms of a dairy intolerance and I was not diagnosed until I was 10. Going on school residential, attending children’s’ parties and eating party teas and going out to restaurants for meals are examples of things that posed a real issue and cause for concern for me and my family, as we were unaware of how badly eating dairy products affected me. Three years on from my diagnosis, I wanted to find out how much understanding others have about food allergy and intolerance and to spread awareness in the hope that other people like me don’t have to go through what I did. The opportunity to investigate this came about through an extended school project, where I could choose what I wanted to research.

First of all, I looked for information. It can be really hard to know what is reliable and what is rubbish! Making Sense of Allergies is going to be really helpful for people looking for trustworthy information and there are lots of them, with 100 million allergy related searches a year just on Google! Making Sense of Allergies wasn’t published in time for me to use when I was doing my research, but the website I used cited the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology, so I thought that was a trustworthy source of information. Here are some of the key things I found out...

Read Edward's full blog, here.