Suspect a Food Allergy?

Articles
May 13, 2015

Suspect a Food Allergy?

Living with a food allergy or intolerance can be a huge inconvenience, but it seems like more and more people believe they have food allergies and thus have to avoid certain foods. Before you go ahead and eliminate an entire food group or a single ingredient, read on.

Living with a food allergy or intolerance can be a huge inconvenience, but it seems like more and more people believe they have food allergies and thus have to avoid certain foods. Before you go ahead and eliminate an entire food group or a single ingredient, read on.

According to Hugh Sampson, director of the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, research shows that as many as 20 percent of people claim to have food allergies when the number is actually around three to four percent

It’s thought that the number of people with milder (non allergic) reactions is higher but yet still overestimated. This is partially because reactions to food can change over time. And various symptoms are sometimes mistakenly attributed to food when they really stem from something else.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 12 million Americans have food allergies - that’s about one in 25. But food allergies may affect more than the CDC approximation if family members, partners, and roommates decide to keep their pantries allergen free to prevent accidents. Just as a reminder, there are eight types of foods that account for 90 percent of food allergies - milk, eggs, peanut, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat - which can cause everything from hives and stuffy sinuses to anaphylactic shock.

The definition of a true food allergy is when the immune system attacks a food protein. Ingestion of the offending food triggers the immune system because the body believes the food is toxic and potentially harmful. Histamine is released in response to the invader, signaling other cells to come to the site to destroy the offending molecule. The release of histamine causes a variety of symptoms that can range from mild hives to severe wheezing, or even anaphylaxis, which can potentially be fatal.

It is also important to note that over 60 percent of the body’s immune system is housed in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, thus constantly consuming foods you may be allergic to causes constant inflammation and upset in an area that should be kept calm so it can remain robust for true immune invaders.

More and more restaurants are rolling out allergy free and allergy friendly menus, disclosing ingredient information as well as source, and in general increasing transparency. Consumers want to know where their food is coming from and what it contains, a desire that is spreading from coast to coast. This is especially true for those who have food allergies or are cooking or choosing foods for an allergic family member or friend.

SupermarketGuru has developed a simple tool for you to communicate effectively every time – and everywhere - you eat out. It's FREE, it's SIMPLE to use, and you print it out yourself. The Food Allergy Buddy® card is newly enhanced with more allergy selections to aid usability and allow you to make use of this great FREE resource. Whether using the card for yourself or your family and friends, we are excited to offer this feature. Just don’t forget to print and bring your Food Allergy Buddy® card with you whenever you dine out!