Should Parents Restrict Allergic Foods?

July 18, 2011

Many parents wait to feed their kids foods that are considered highly allergic, a new study concludes that this might not be necessary

Parents have been told for years to wait to introduce certain foods because of the potential for their kids to develop allergies, but a study published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine found that postponing the consumption of potentially allergic foods does not actually lead to a reduction in reactions later in childhood.

The study followed eczema and asthma symptoms of nearly 7000 infants until four years of age. The authors report that that the introduction of six of the most common allergens, cow's milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, and gluten to children before the age of six months was not associated with increased incidence of eczema or wheezing, two common reactions in childhood.

The study’s authors emphasize that childhood nutrition is very important in influencing the development of atopic or allergy related diseases. Due to the potential of early diet affecting health in such a significant way, doctors have recommended parents delay feeding babies and infants foods that may contain common allergens. However this postponed introduction has not been convincingly shown to reduce allergies, either in children considered at risk, or in those not considered to be at risk.

Parents are encouraged to teach their kids about healthy eating starting at a young age; to include a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, and let kids pick what they want to have for dinner- of course limit their choices for example - to choosing a vegetable main or side dish or picking what fruit to have for a snack or dessert. In terms of allergens, it is important to speak with your child’s physician as they will have specific advice tailored to your child.

If you child does have food allergies, make sure you check out our Food Allergy Buddy & Celiac BFF very helpful for eating out or shopping with food allergies.