You probably know at least one person in your life who claims to have a food allergy. But, is it really an allergy or is it a sensitivity? There is a difference, but many people use the terms interchangeably. The next time you hear someone talk about their gluten-free diet due to allergies, look a little closer – it may be just a sensitivity, which is a lot less serious than an allergy.
Also known as a food intolerance, a food sensitivity can cause a physical reaction in your body. Usually, it shows up in the form of indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea, or headaches. Some food sensitivities can become inhibiting to a person when he or she tries to eat. But, it’s important to note that they aren’t life-threatening. They typically affect the digestive system only. And, some food sensitivities can be brought on by psychological factors. If you choked on a hot dog when you were younger, your brain could make you have physical symptoms when you smell or see hot dogs. That’s not to say that food sensitivities are “made up,” though. They’re very real, but can be caused by several factors, like a lack of enzymes to break down a certain food or a sensitivity to natural toxins in foods.