Are you allergic to any foods? Do you notice that your body does not tolerate certain foods well?
You may find it surprising to know that less than 8% of children and 4% of adults have true food allergies, but many more than that have intolerances to certain foods.
Check out the following fast facts. Then don’t forget the more in-depth links below, featuring allergy-specific FAQ and resources.
• The most common foods that cause allergic reactions are peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, wheat, and soy.
• From 3 percent to 8 percent of children have reactions to some foods. Only 1 percent to 2 percent have true food allergies. From 1 percent to 2 percent of adults have true food allergies. But people of any age can have sudden allergic reactions to a food that had previously not been a problem for them. (Asthma & Allergy Foundation, 2005)
• Soy is a common allergen and is found in more than half of all processed foods.
• Eosinophilic esophagitis (EE) is a rare, allergic, inflammatory disease caused by elevated eosinophils in the esophagus, which lead to inflammation of the esophagus. The eosinophils cause damage to the tissue of the esophagus. Food allergies or intolerances can cause EE, which is why diet is so important to people with EE. (I’d never personally heard about this condition, until one of our customers emailed me about her son with EE and said she wanted to have him try our rice milk powder—rice being one of the most hypoallergenic foods—interesting!)
• The only true treatment of food allergies is prevention involving dietary intervention. Celiac Disease is the condition related to an allergy to gluten, the protein fraction found primarily in wheat, barley and rye.
• Food Allergy vs. Food Intolerance 101: A food allergy is an abnormal reaction to food that involves the body’s immune system. When an offending food is eaten, the body produces an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE) in response to that food. Food allergies can be mild resulting in eczema or dermatitis, but they can also be severe resulting in asthma-type symptoms, difficulty breathing, coughing, or wheezing. A food intolerance is an abnormal response to a food that does not involve the immune system. Intolerances are more common than food allergies and they are generally mild involving the GI tract, sometimes inconvenient, but are rarely life threatening.
“About 20 per cent of the population believe themselves to have a food allergy and only about five per cent actually do.”
— John Warner
Useful Resources (click to download):