General Question

MrsDufresne's avatar

Are there different kinds of food allergies besides anaphylaxis? (i.e. one that causes you ingest more of a food than you should)

Asked by MrsDufresne (3547points) May 11th, 2010

I was once told that I had an allergy to dairy, because I have a hard time limiting my intake of it, once I have eaten it. For example, it is very difficult for me to just have one cube of cheese, or one scoop of ice cream. It takes much more willpower to limit my consumption of dairy more than any other food. Is this because of an allergy of some sort? Or maybe some other reason?

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8 Answers

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Seaofclouds's avatar

I’ve never heard of an allergy causing you to eat more. Allergic reactions range from mild (itching/swelling) to severe (anaphylaxis). Not being able to stop eating something because you like it is more likely to be a compulsion issue than an allergy issue.

KatawaGrey's avatar

I have a good friend who has eczema that gets infinitely worse if she eats more than a certain amount of a lot of foods or is exposed to certain chemicals. I have another friend whose immune system is severely weakened if she eats dairy or egg.

Dr_C's avatar

No. There is no correlation between an allergic reaction and increased craving for a specific food or increased appetite.

What you are describing is a psychological reaction having to do with wanting what you can’t have. The more you tell yourself something is bad for you the more you want to convince yourself that you can handle it and the more you want to ingest.

It’s actually very common and not limited to people with lactose intolerance (which is an enzyme deficiency and not an allergy).

Trillian's avatar

@Dr_C So how does one combat this craving for, to pick an example for no particular reason, chocolate for instance?

Dr_C's avatar

@Trillian the answer to that is a bit more involved than one might think.

It’s been stipulated that the body’s “cravings” are a signal that a specific substance is needed for metabolic equilibrium. Your body has a certain “memory” for the chemical make-up of certain foods you’ve ingested over your lifetime and will on occasion when your diet is less than ideal (certain vitamin or mineral deficiencies… or just a crappy diet) “crave” a food that contains one of the substrates that it requires. This is very common as an example during menstruation when some women will crave foods that have a high iron content.

The simplest answer though is will power. The ability to deny yourself something (unless speaking of addiction) rests within each person.

lillycoyote's avatar

You can have reactions to foods and trouble digesting foods where it isn’t technically, strictly an allergy. It doesn’t necessarily make it any less uncomfortable or troublesome, except with anaphylaxis, which is a severe, sometimes life threatening reaction, but some bad reactions to foods are not really allergies. I think I have heard of things where you want to eat more of things that your body reacts badly to, but I can’t remember what they are. Maybe someone else, hopefully, has the answer.

MrsDufresne's avatar

@Dr_C Hmm, enzyme deficiency? That makes sense. I never deny myself any food, however, I do limit the amount I have. Thanks for your answer.

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