|Valerie Lawson - Exercise Physiologist|
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration estimates that 2% of adults and 5% of infants and young children in the U.S. suffer from some food allergies. Though in many cases people can outgrow their food allergies, there is no 'cure.' Epinephrine, also called 'adrenaline,' is most commonly used to control a severe reaction. Therefore, avoidance is the best strategy to avoid a reaction. Consultation with a registered dietician may be necessary to avoid the negative nutritional consequences from removing foods from your diet.
Note that there is a difference between food allergy and food intolerance. Whereas a food allergy involves an immune system reaction to a food, food intolerance is a food-induced reaction not related to the immune system. For example, an individual with lactose intolerance is deficient in the enzyme needed to digest milk sugar, which may result in symptoms of gas, bloating, and abdominal pain when milk products are ingested. Additionally, specific health conditions can require food avoidance. Celiac disease, for example, an immune-mediated disease that causes damage to the gastrointestinal tract, central nervous system and other organs, requires avoidance of all foods containing gluten. Look for foods that read 'gluten-free' on the label.
Food allergies are based on common allergens, accounting for 90% of food allergies, and are found in food groups or as an ingredient derived from the following foods:
- Crustacean shellfish
- tree nuts
- soy beans
Reading ingredient labels correctly is key to avoiding problematic foods. Inspect the list of ingredients for an allergen that can be listed in other terms, such as soybeans, which can be written as 'soya' or 'soy.' Review the manufacturer's statement to determine if the food had been exposed to an allergen during the packaging or preparation process.
Websites providing helpful information on food allergies and related conditions include:
- Allergy Support.org: www.allergysupport.org: Education and support for managing food allergies, including topics such as allergy testing, cross-contamination, eating out, school-based management, medications, and reading food labels.
- Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network: http://www.foodallergy.org/default.htm: Provides advocacy and education, and supports research for those affected by food allergies and anaphylaxis.
- Special Needs Family Fun Website: www.specialneedsfamilyfun.com: Family fun, family health, and special needs resources for families with disabilities.
- About Allergies: http://allergies.about.com/cs/food: Allergy information and articles.
- Baby & Kid Allergies.com: www.babyandkidallergies.com: A wealth of allergy-related information for the lay audience.
- Food You Can Eat.com: http://www.foodyoucaneat.com/: Free recipes, searchable by allergen.
- NoMilk.com - the No-Milk Page: http://nomilk.com/: An extensive list of web links for those with milk allergies or lactose intolerance.
- NoSoy (For the Soybean Challenged): http://www.geocities.com/HotSprings/4620/: Information for persons with soy allergies.
- Enjoy Life – Eat Freely: www.enjoylifefoods.com: Food products without wheat, gluten, dairy, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, corn, or potatoes.
Please send your comments and feedback to Valerie Lawson at email@example.com.
Gluten-Free Almond Cookies