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Food allergy, sensitivity or intolerance: What’s the difference?

Updated: Oct 7, 2020

Many people confuse food allergy with food sensitivity and food intolerance. These terms are often used interchangeably, but they do not mean the same thing. A food allergy is when your immune system reacts to specific food(s). While a sensitivity is a reaction to a certain type of food such as milk or wheat, occurring mostly in your digestive system. A food tolerance is a reaction to specific carbohydrates, or protein contained in certain foods.

The chart below describes these differences.

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