What is the difference between a food allergy and a food sensitivity?


My niece just had an allergy test done and with the exception of dust mites, it came back negative. However, she can not eat anything with mustard or mustard seed in it with it causing her throat to swell up and the same seems to go for lactose, but since the allergy test was negative on those items, does that mean she is simply sensitive to those items but not fully allergic? Can someone explain the difference between the two?

In: 9

An allergy is when the body’s immune system treats something that is normally benign as harmful, and starts attacking it.

Food sensitivity or food intolerance is the body’s inability to properly digest certain foods. Unlike allergies it is not an immune system response.

So in short: allergy = immune system, sensitivity = digestive system.

An allergy is where the immune system is involved and results in a histamine response. Histamine changes blood pressure, causes swelling, can result in hives and so on.

A food sensitivity is caused by the digestive system. This can result in vomiting, diarrhoea, bloating and so on.

This really seems like a question that you should be asking your immunologist and not reddit.

Did they specifically test for a mustard allergy? What did they say when you asked them the same question about her symptoms?

Food sensitivities and allergies are two different things. There’s also several different ways in which food allergies are tested.