Think It's a Food Allergy? Think Again!

September 21, 2012

Think you have an allergy? Well avoiding an ingredient or food group can be difficult and sometimes bad for your health - find out more here

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

“Research shows that as many as 20 percent of people claim to have food allergies when the number is actually around 3 to 4 percent,” according to Hugh Sampson, director of the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York via the Washington Post.

Its thought that the number of people with milder (non allergic) reactions, is higher, but still overestimated. That’s partly 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 Sampson.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 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. 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.

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. It’s the Food Allergy Buddy & Celiac BFF Card. In a matter of seconds you can check off any foods you would like to avoid in the preparation of your meal. Then print out as many cards as you like and hand them to your waiter, supermarket counter person or even party host, to make sure that your foods are allergy free.

Before you go allergy free, make an appointment with an allergist – this way you will know for sure!