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Woman Asks If She’s Wrong To Call Her Food Intolerance An ‘Allergy’ So It’s Taken More Seriously

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Some things are just too much of a pain to have to explain to people over and over again.

A woman reached that point when people kept asking questions, but never really taking her seriously, according to the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor WanderlustSpecial decided it was easier to stretch the truth slightly in hopes that others would take her more seriously.

But when a friend called her out for it, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she was in the wrong.

She asked the sub: 

“AITA for referring to my food intolerance as an allergy?”

The OP has an intolerance that makes her sick. 

“I (28[female]) have a nightshade intolerance. In particular, potatoes/ potato starch make me incredibly sick to my stomach.”

But she’s found people typically don’t observe it.

“People tend to not take me seriously if I say I have an intolerance.”

“I get sick even if my food is touching fries or chips, yet sometimes waiters will ignore me and serve them anyways.”

“For some reason, people seem to think an intolerance is a diet choice rather than an actual medical issue.”

The OP thought she came up with a solution, but her family wasn’t having it. 

“As a result, I’ve started referring to it as an allergy when I go out to eat.”

“On Friday I was out to eat with some family friends and when I mentioned to the waiter that I had a potato allergy, one family friend interrupted and said, ‘oh it’s not an allergy, it’s not like she’ll die!'”

“Luckily my mom was with us and immediately spoke up that while I might not die, I do get extremely sick, so it is important that I not be served anything with potato.”

“Am I the a**hole for technically being dishonest and saying I have an allergy so that people take my intolerance seriously?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some said the important thing should be the fact the OP has a reaction to something.


“There’s barely a difference in my opinion in this case between intolerance or allergy. Your body reacts badly to it. There are many people who have allergies to things but won’t necessarily die from them.”

“Absolutely nothing wrong at all with referring to it as an allergy, and sounds like it’s a good idea to ensure you aren’t served anything that makes you sick.”AndroidsHeart

“My husband just says “itchy is a feeling” and this is how we refer to my allergies. I won’t die, but my allergist called them allergies, so we stick with that.”duck-this-shut

“The thing about substance sensitivities and intolerances is that with repeat exposure, you can get worse and develop a full-blown allergy. Even if she didn’t get extremely sick from potatoes, OP would still be within her rights to call it an allergy, just to protect herself from other people’s carelessness.”

“I have a latex ‘sensitivity,’ meaning I get a rash and hives upon contact (first time having sex was sooo fun). I’ve never had a more serious reaction, but I still call it a latex allergy. I have a lot of allergies and if my body ever discovers anaphylaxis, I’m up you-know-what creek without a paddle.”

“I’ve also had a close relative go into full-blown anaphylactic shock just from inhaling latex particles. OP’s personal medical safety is more important than giving a waiter the precise medical terminology for her condition.”QuixoticLogophile

A few pointed out the family member was at fault, not the OP.

“If anyone is TA its the friend who spoke up. Like what even was the point of undermining Op?”AnimalLover38

“I have some on and off food intolerances which have had me stuck in the bathroom several times on outings with friends. My friends would rather I hang out with them than disappear on and off all night, so they go so far as to remember my intolerances and even remind waiters when I forget. Your family friend is completely ignorant and inconsiderate.”harimogura

“NTA. It may not be an allergy in the strict medical sense, but it will still have severe consequences if you eat it, and should be treated like the serious medical problem it is. If that means calling it an “allergy” so service personnel will take notice, so be it.”

“Your family friend needs to educate themselves on what an allergy is and is not — many if not most allergies are not potentially fatal.”AntheaBrainhooke

“NTA. Who the heck gatekeeps something like this?”

“The problem here is that people don’t take you seriously when you say you have an intolerance. You’re not asking anyone to think very hard or weigh in on your diet.”

“This is such a frustrating issue, if you specify that you want your food a certain way, and it’s not a wildly unreasonable request, then you should be respected enough for it to be done without question. The fact that people have to disclose their medical information in order to get taken seriously is ridiculous.”

“Maybe you won’t die, but s**tting your guts out or cramps or whatever it is that you experience, is pretty miserable and your family friend is an ignorant clown for weighing in as if they are the authority on the issue.”Yaaauw

“Absolutely NTA. Chef here, if you register an allergy we get a big red note on your ticket, so we can be sure not to mess up.”

“Our job is to serve you safe (and delicious) food, the last thing we want is for someone to get hurt or s**t themselves. Tell us, so we can get it right, and keep you coming back to keep us open.”

“It’s also super annoying for us is the server doesn’t make a proper note & a dish gets returned for allergy/intolerance & we have to mess up our food queue to rush through a refire.”

“That slows up service for everyone who ordered after you, so please be loud & clear about it, tell your family member chef says STFU”Franks_Monster_

Others pointed out people should not make assumptions based on what they think they know.

“I have a friend that is VERY lactose intolerant and not everyone takes it seriously. Either people think it’s not an issue or assume it’s comparable to themselves who’re somewhat lactose intolerant.”

“For example eating one slice of pizza will result in her having to curl up in fetal position out of pain.”

“Another friend I know who’s lactose intolerant can have pizza or ice cream but if he has a glass of milk or milkshake then his tummy bothers him for a few hours and he has to take an extra trip or two to the bathroom.”

“Those two are friends are not the same when it comes to how lactose intolerant they are.”Anomalyyyyyyyyy

“I spent YEARS with gluten impaired brain function. Not to mention losing half my meals. Doctors checked me for celiac but it was negative, and never suggested it could be an intolerance instead.”

“I didn’t know an intolerance could be that bad (and also – brain fog) so it wasn’t until a friend suggested it that I figured it out. (Via elimination dieting.)”anywitchway

“Intolerances can be more severe than allergies. Some people are just… Not very bright. Then u have to speak in terms they understand. NTA”

“Also in a foreign country I had to say allergy because I didn’t know how to say intolerance and I needed people to understand I couldn’t eat the bread.”Happy-Investment

The subReddit seems to be in agreement on this one. Whether or not it’s classified as an allergy, an intolerance should be taken seriously. Knowing someone could become sick should be enough of a reason to respect their dietary needs.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan has been a part of the George Takei family since 2019 when she wrote some of her favorite early pieces: Sesame Street introducing its first character who lived in foster care and Bruce Willis delivering a not-so-Die-Hard opening pitch at a Phillies game. She's gone on to write nearly 3,000 viral and trending stories for George Takei, Comic Sands, Percolately, and ÜberFacts. With an unstoppable love for the written word, she's also an avid reader, poet, and indie novelist.