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Food Allergies And Intolerances


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#1 gf4life

 
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Posted 29 May 2004 - 08:53 PM

(from MedicalNewsToday.com)
*Note: This article was writed for the UK, but most of the information applies universally.


Foods that cause allergy
24 May 2004

In theory, any food can cause a food allergy. But in fact just a handful of foods are to blame for 90% of allergic reactions to food. These foods are known as the ‘big eight’. They are:

-- milk
-- eggs
-- peanuts (groundnuts)
-- nuts from trees (including Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, almonds and walnuts)
-- fish
-- shellfish (including mussels, crab and shrimps)
-- soya
-- wheat

In children, most allergic reactions to food are to milk, peanuts, nuts from trees, eggs, soya and wheat. Most children grow out of most allergic reactions to food in early childhood. In adults, most allergic reactions are to peanuts, nuts, fish, shellfish, citrus fruit and wheat.

This section mainly describes foods that can cause food allergy, but it also includes lactose intolerance and gluten intolerance/sensitivity (coeliac disease). These are types of food intolerance, but they aren’t allergies. Remember, if you think you have a food intolerance, contact your GP.

Cereal allergy

A number of cereals have been reported to cause allergic reactions in sensitive children and adults. These include wheat, rye, barley, oats, maize (corn) and rice. Sometimes people can react to more than one type of cereal.

Coconut allergy

Allergy to coconut is rare in the UK, but coconut can cause allergic reactions (including anaphylaxis) in people who are sensitive.

A small number of people who are allergic to nuts have reacted to coconut. It might also cause reactions in people who are allergic to latex.

Coeliac disease

Gluten is the mixture of proteins found in some cereals, including wheat, rye and barley. Gluten intolerance, or coeliac disease, is a lifelong disease, which is caused by sensitivity to gluten. It can damage the lining of the small intestine, which stops the body from absorbing nutrients, causing diarrhoea and eventually malnutrition. Coeliac disease can sometimes run in families, but we don’t know exactly what causes it.

Until recently, coeliac disease was only thought to affect about one in 1500 people in the UK. Now we think it’s more common, and better tests for the condition have shown that it might affect as many as one in 300 people in the UK. In some areas of the world it seems to be more common, for example in parts of Ireland as many as one in 100 people may be affected.

Coeliac disease is often diagnosed after weaning, when cereals are introduced into the diet, but it can also be diagnosed at a later age. Research suggests that waiting until a baby is about four to six months old before starting to give them wheat makes it less likely that they will develop coeliac disease.

If it isn’t treated, coeliac disease can lead to anaemia, bone disease and, on rare occasions, certain forms of cancer. It can also cause growth problems in children.

People with some medical conditions might be more likely to develop coeliac disease, for example Type 1 diabetes, thyroid problems, ulcerative colitis and certain neurological disorders, such as epilepsy.

There is no cure for coeliac disease. The only way to avoid the symptoms is not to eat foods containing gluten, such as wheat, rye, barley, malt, malt extract, malt flavouring, beer and lager. Processed food can often contain hidden gluten, but a large number of gluten-free products, such as bread, cakes and pasta are now available. Coeliac UK, a charity to support people with gluten intolerance, works with manufacturers to produce a regularly updated list of foods that don’t contain gluten.

Egg allergy

Like most food allergies, egg allergy is more common in childhood and about half the children who have it will grow out of it by the age of three. In a few cases, egg allergy can cause anaphylaxis.

Egg allergy is mainly caused by three proteins in the egg white called ovomucoid, ovalbumin and conalbumin. Cooking can destroy some of these allergens, but not others. So some people might react to cooked eggs, as well as raw eggs.

Occasionally someone might react to egg because they have an allergy to chicken, quail or turkey meat, or to bird feathers. This is called bird-egg syndrome.

Fish allergy

Fish allergy can often cause severe reactions, including anaphylaxis. Adults are more likely to have an allergic reaction to fish and shellfish than children, which is probably because adults will have eaten these foods more often.

People who are allergic to one type of fish, such as cod, often react to other types of fish such as hake, haddock, mackerel and whiting as well. This is because the allergens in these fish are quite similar. Cooking doesn’t destroy fish allergens. In fact, some people with fish allergy can be allergic to cooked but not raw fish.

Fruit and vegetable allergy

Allergic reactions to fruits and vegetables are usually mild and often they just affect the mouth, causing itching or a rash where the food touches the lips and mouth. This is called oral allergy syndrome. A number of people who react in this way to fruit or vegetables will also react to tree and weed pollens. So, for example, people who are allergic to birch pollen are also likely to be allergic to apples.

Cooking can destroy a number of the allergens in fruits and vegetables, so cooked fruit often won’t cause a reaction in people with an allergy to fruit. Pasteurised fruit juice might not cause an allergic reaction either, for the same reason. However, the allergens in some vegetables, such as celery, aren’t affected by cooking. Some fruits and vegetables, such as tomatoes, are more likely to cause a reaction as they get riper.

Gluten intolerance

Gluten is the mixture of proteins found in some cereals, including wheat, rye and barley. Gluten intolerance, or coeliac disease, is a lifelong disease, which is caused by sensitivity to gluten. It can damage the lining of the small intestine, which stops the body from absorbing nutrients, causing diarrhoea and eventually malnutrition. Coeliac disease can sometimes run in families, but we don’t know exactly what causes it.

Until recently, coeliac disease was only thought to affect about one in 1500 people in the UK. Now we think it’s more common, and better tests for the condition have shown that it might affect as many as one in 300 people in the UK. In some areas of the world it seems to be more common, for example in parts of Ireland as many as one in 100 people may be affected.

Coeliac disease is often diagnosed after weaning, when cereals are introduced into the diet, but it can also be diagnosed at a later age. Research suggests that waiting until a baby is about four to six months old before starting to give them wheat makes it less likely that they will develop coeliac disease.

If it isn’t treated, coeliac disease can lead to anaemia, bone disease and, on rare occasions, certain forms of cancer. It can also cause growth problems in children.

People with some medical conditions might be more likely to develop coeliac disease, for example Type 1 diabetes, thyroid problems, ulcerative colitis and certain neurological disorders, such as epilepsy.

There is no cure for coeliac disease. The only way to avoid the symptoms is not to eat foods containing gluten, such as wheat, rye, barley, malt, malt extract, malt flavouring, beer and lager. Processed food can often contain hidden gluten, but a large number of gluten-free products, such as bread, cakes and pasta are now available. Coeliac UK, a charity to support people with gluten intolerance, works with manufacturers to produce a regularly updated list of foods that don’t contain gluten.

Lactose intolerance

Lactose is a sugar found naturally in milk. It’s important to distinguish between lactose intolerance and milk allergy, because milk allergy can cause severe reactions. See the section on milk allergy for more information.

Lactose intolerance is caused by a shortage of the enzyme lactase, which is needed to break down lactose so it can be absorbed into the bloodstream. When someone doesn’t have enough of this enzyme, lactose isn’t absorbed properly from the gut, which can cause symptoms such as bloating and diarrhoea.

Lactose intolerance can be caused by a number of things. In humans, the body produces less lactase after the age of two. However, in white Western Europeans, lactase can be produced into adult life, which allows lactose to be broken down properly.

Because of this, lactose intolerance is more common in certain ethnic and racial populations than in others. In the UK, we think about 5% of the general population have lactose intolerance. In communities where milk is not traditionally part of the typical adult diet, a much bigger proportion of people are affected. For example, up to 75% of the black African community and more than 90% of the Asian community are intolerant to lactose.

Digestive diseases, or injuries to the small intestine can sometimes cause lactose intolerance, because they reduce the amount of lactase produced. In rare cases, the condition can be inherited.

Milk from mammals including cows, goats, sheep and humans contain lactose. This means that goats’ milk and sheep milk aren’t suitable alternatives to cows’ milk for people who are intolerant to lactose. There is no medical treatment for lactose intolerance, but symptoms can be avoided by controlling the amount of lactose in the diet. Adults with lactose intolerance can often have a small amount of milk without getting any symptoms.

Latex-food syndrome

Latex allergy is caused by a reaction to a number of allergens found in natural rubber or latex. In recent years, the number of people with latex allergy has increased, particularly among healthcare workers and people with spina bifida, because they come into contact with lots of latex products.

Latex contains lots of allergens that are similar to the allergens in some foods. So people who are allergic to latex might also find they react to foods such as banana, mango, kiwi, chestnut, paprika, celery, apple, carrot, cherry, coconut, strawberry and avocado. This is called latex-food syndrome. In the same way, people who are allergic to these foods may also react to latex.

People with a latex allergy should be tested for allergies to foods that are linked to the latex-food syndrome.

Lupin allergy Lupins are common garden plants, which are related to legumes such as peas, lentils and beans. Many types of lupin seed are poisonous, because they contain bitter-tasting toxins. But sweet lupins don’t contain these toxins and they can be eaten by humans or livestock. Sweet lupin seeds are being used more and more to replace cereal grain in many food products, for example flour and pasta.

Allergy to lupin has been recognised for some time in mainland Europe, where lupin flour is used widely in food products. This type of allergy only seems to have started emerging in the UK quite recently, which is probably because lupin is used quite rarely in food products and hasn’t been used for as long as in mainland Europe. Lupin allergy can cause severe reactions, including anaphylaxis, but there have been very few confirmed reports of lupin allergy in the UK so far.

The major allergens in lupin are also found in peanut, so people who are allergic to peanuts could react to lupin. The Anaphylaxis Campaign in the UK has advised people with peanut allergy to avoid lupin. It’s mainly used in flour-based products such as pastry.

Maize allergy

Maize (or corn) allergy isn’t common in the UK, although there have been reported cases. For people who are sensitive to maize, avoiding it can be very difficult, because maize is commonly used in a wide variety of food products.

Meat allergy

People with a meat allergy might react to beef, mutton, pork or chicken. Sometimes people who are allergic to one type of meat or poultry might also react to other types. Cooking destroys some of the allergens in meat, but some people will still react to cooked meat.

Processed meats, such as frankfurters, luncheon meats and pâtés, sometimes contain other ingredients, particularly milk products, as emulsifiers or flavour enhancers. So it’s possible for someone who is allergic to milk to react to a meat product because it contains milk. For example, milk is sometimes used in chicken nuggets to stick the breadcrumbs to the chicken pieces.

Milk allergy

Allergy to cows’ milk is the most common food allergy in childhood, and affects 2-7% of babies under one year old. It’s more common in babies with atopic dermatitis. A reaction can be triggered by small amounts of milk, either passed to the baby through the mother’s breast milk from dairy products she has eaten, or from feeding cows’ milk to the baby.

Children usually grow out of milk allergy by the age of three, but about a fifth of children who have an allergy to cows’ milk will still be allergic to it as adults. The symptoms of milk allergy are often mild and can affect any part of the body. They can include rashes, diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach cramps and difficulty in breathing. In a very few cases, milk allergy can cause anaphylaxis.

Cows’ milk allergy is caused by a reaction to a number of allergens in cows’ milk, such as casein and whey. Casein is the curd that forms when milk sours, and whey is the watery part that is left when the curd is removed.

People can be allergic to either whey or casein, or both, and an allergic reaction can be triggered by very small amounts of these allergens in people who are sensitive. Heat treatment, such as pasteurisation, changes whey, so people who are sensitive to whey might not react to pasteurised milk. But heat treatment doesn’t affect casein, so someone who is allergic to casein will probably react to all types of milk and milk products.

Milk from other mammals (such as goats and sheep), and hydrolysed milk and soya formulas, are sometimes used as a substitute for babies who are at risk of developing cows’ milk allergy. However, the allergens in milk from goats and sheep are very similar to those in cows’ milk. This means that someone with a cows’ milk allergy might react to these other types of milk as well, so goat’s and sheep milk aren’t suitable alternatives for people who are sensitive to cows’ milk.

Some highly hydrolysed milk formulas are suitable for babies with cows’ milk allergy, but other types of formula, such as partially hydrolysed milk and soya formulas, aren’t suitable, because many babies with cows’ milk allergy might react to them as well.

Milk protein intolerance

Intolerance to cows’ milk protein is a type of intolerance that is common in babies and children, and symptoms start from the time when cows’ milk is first introduced into the diet. There is no cure for it and the only way to stop the symptoms is to avoid cows’ milk products. Cows’ milk protein intolerance is different to lactose intolerance and milk allergy. See the sections on lactose intolerance and milk allergy for more information.

Nut allergy

Allergy to nuts from trees is usually lifelong. The nuts that are most likely to cause allergic reactions are walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pecans, Brazil nuts, pine nuts, macadamia nuts and cashew nuts. On rare occasions, all these nuts can cause anaphylaxis in people who are sensitive. Sometimes people with an allergy to one type of nut will also react to other nuts. So if you have a nut allergy, you need to be very careful to avoid nuts and unrefined (crude) nut oil. Talk to your GP for advice.

Strictly speaking, peanuts are legumes, not nuts, and they grow underground rather than on trees. See the section on peanut allergy.

Peanut allergy

Allergy to peanuts (also known as groundnuts and monkey nuts) is often lifelong, but research suggests that, in a very few cases, young children diagnosed with peanut allergy may grow out of it.

Peanuts are one of the most common causes of food allergy and can cause severe reactions, including anaphylaxis. They contain a number of allergens that are not destroyed by cooking or roasting.

Peanut allergy can be so severe that very tiny amounts can cause a reaction. Because of this, coming into contact with traces of peanut can be enough to cause a reaction in people who are sensitive. For example, someone might come into contact with traces of peanuts from unrefined oils, or when food is served using utensils that have been used with food containing peanuts, or even being close to someone eating peanuts.

Refined peanut oil is thought to be safe for people with peanut allergy, because the proteins that cause allergic reactions are removed during the manufacturing process. However, cold-pressed, or unrefined/unprocessed (crude) peanut oil can contain small amounts of peanut allergens, which can cause a reaction in people who are sensitive.

Some people with peanut allergy might also react to other legumes such as soya, green beans, kidney beans, green peas and lupins, because these foods contain similar allergens to peanuts. Even though, strictly speaking, peanuts aren’t nuts, people with peanut allergy are sometimes allergic to nuts from trees such as almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts and cashew nuts.

Pine nut allergy

Pine nuts can cause severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, in people who are sensitive. People who are allergic to pine nuts might also react to peanuts and nuts such as almonds.

Quorn™ allergy

Quorn™ is a type of protein, which is made from a fungus. It has been available in the UK since 1985, and is often used as a meat substitute. There have been some reports of intolerance to Quorn™, but this is not surprising, because it has a high protein content (allergens are usually proteins). Intolerance to Quorn™ is much less frequent than to other foods such as soya and dairy products. As Quorn™ is made from a fungus, some people who react to other fungi or moulds (including by inhalation) may also react to Quorn™.

Rice allergy

Rice allergy is common in countries in Eastern Asia, such as Japan, where rice is commonly eaten, but it isn’t common in the UK. People who are allergic to rice can react when they eat it or when they inhale its pollen. Rice can cause hayfever symptoms in areas where it’s grown commercially.

People who are allergic to rice can sometimes react to a number of other foods from the same botanical family, such as barley, maize, wheat, oats and rye, as well as other foods such as peach and apple.

Sesame allergy

We don’t know how many people in the UK suffer from sesame allergy, but it’s quite common in countries such as Australia and Israel. We think that sesame allergy is increasing, possibly because it’s now more commonly used.

Sesame seeds, sesame oil and other sesame products such as tahini, are used in cooking, for example in Turkish or oriental dishes, and in manufactured products such as bread, biscuits, salads, sauces and houmous. Sesame allergy can be severe, and can cause anaphylaxis. People with sesame allergy might also react to poppy seeds, kiwi fruit, hazelnuts and rye grain.

People who are allergic to sesame should avoid sesame oil. This is because it’s made by cold-pressing sesame seeds and isn’t refined, so it can contain small amounts of allergens, which can cause a reaction in people who are sensitive to them.

Shellfish allergy

Allergy to shellfish is quite common, and a number of different types of shellfish can cause reactions in people who are sensitive, for example shrimps, prawns, lobster, crab, crayfish, oysters, scallops, mussels and clams.

People who are allergic to one type of shellfish often find that they react to other types. Shellfish allergy can often cause severe reactions, and some people can react to the vapours from cooking shellfish.

Soya allergy

Soya allergy is a common childhood allergy. Most people grow out of it by the age of two, but occasionally adults are allergic to soya. The symptoms of soya allergy are similar to milk allergy, and they include rashes, diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach cramps and breathing difficulties. Some people with soya allergy might also react to milk. Very rarely, soya can cause anaphylaxis.

Soya is used as an ingredient in about two-thirds of all manufactured food products, including bakery goods, sweets, drinks, breakfast cereals, ice cream, margarine, pasta, processed meats and seasoned foods.

Soya can be described in a number of different ways on food labels, for example as hydrolysed vegetable protein, vegetable oil and lecithin. Soya flour is used to increase the shelf life of many products and to improve the colour of pastry crusts. Textured soya protein, which is sometimes called textured vegetable protein, is made from compressed soya flour. It’s used as a meat substitute and to improve the consistency of meat products.

Refined soya oil (the main component of vegetable oil) should be safe for people with soya allergy, because the proteins that cause allergic reactions are removed during the refining process.

Children who are allergic to cows’ milk are sometimes given soya-based formulas as a substitute. But people with a cows’ milk allergy can sometimes be allergic to soya too. So soya-based formulas might not be suitable for children with cows’ milk allergy. Highly hydrolysed milk or casein formulas are often recommended for these children. Ask your GP for advice.

Sometimes people with an allergy to soya will also react to foods such as peanuts, green peas, chickpeas, rye and barley flour.

Spice allergy

Allergic reactions to spices are rare and usually mild, but severe reactions can happen occasionally. Some people react to mustard, coriander, caraway, fennel, paprika or saffron and, less frequently, to onions, garlic or chives. Reactions to mustard have been reported to cause anaphylaxis, particularly in mainland Europe, where mustard is used more. The allergens in spices are similar to those in pollens and vegetables, and people who are allergic to mugwort and birch are more likely to be sensitive to spices for this reason.

Vegetable oil allergy

Vegetable oil is usually a blend of oils. In the UK, the oils used the most to make up vegetable oil are soya, rapeseed, sunflower, maize, palm, coconut and palm kernel oils. Where they appear in pre-packed food, these oils will have been refined. The refining process removes proteins from the oil. Since it’s the proteins in oils that can cause allergic reactions, sensitive people probably won’t react to refined oils. Some speciality oils, such as sesame and walnut, aren’t refined, so they are best avoided by people who are sensitive to the nuts or seeds they are made from.

Wheat allergy

Wheat allergy is common, particularly among babies. One of the main allergens in wheat is a protein called gliadin, which is found in gluten. Because of this, people with a wheat allergy are sometimes recommended to eat a gluten-free diet.

As with all food allergies, if you think you’re allergic to wheat you should talk to your GP before changing your diet

http://www.foodstandards.gov.uk
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~West Coast-Central California~

Mariann, gluten intolerant and mother of 3 gluten intolerant children

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#2 kalo

 
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Posted 30 May 2004 - 08:36 AM

I do have a couple of questions. The milk test from entero labs, is it for lactose intolerance or protien allergy? Also, I've read that many people with celiac disease have lactose intolerance. But then I've read that after the intestines start to heal on a gluten-free diet, they find that they can once again eat dairy. Has that been true for many here? Hugs, Carol B
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Hugs, Carol B Enterolab diagnosed gluten sensitive and casein allergic June 04

#3 plantime

 
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Posted 30 May 2004 - 01:02 PM

How nice to see that rice and peaches go together as allergens. I am allergic to peaches, and right now am struggling to breathe because I ate some rice crisps. I do have an IgE mediated reaction to grasses, of which rice is one. It is just nice to have some answers.
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#4 gf4life

 
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Posted 30 May 2004 - 01:46 PM

Kalo (Carol B.),

Enterolabs milk sensitivity test is for milk protein. Lactose is a milk sugar. I've been told by my childrens GI that we should outgrow the milk sensitivity. I hope so. I miss cheese terribly, so does my daughter, and my kids would like some regular ice cream! There are just so many more gluten-free foods we could eat, but currently have to avoid because of the dairy!

I liked this article because it explains a lot about how allergies affect people. It also explained why I can tolerate soybean oil and soy lecithin, but not soy in the form of soy sauce. I always wondered about that.

God bless,
Mariann
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Mariann, gluten intolerant and mother of 3 gluten intolerant children

#5 kalo

 
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Posted 31 May 2004 - 07:28 AM

How will you know that you have out grown the milk sensitivity? Testing or trying dairy? It was lactose intolerance that I read about that went away once the intestines started to heal. May do a search on both of them. Yes, I do hope I can have dairy. That's got to be a tuffy. Hugs, Carol B
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Hugs, Carol B Enterolab diagnosed gluten sensitive and casein allergic June 04

#6 gf4life

 
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Posted 31 May 2004 - 02:12 PM

I suppose we will know by trying dairy again and seeing if we have problems. I planned on waiting at least 6 months to a year. If we do fine on dairy, then after a few months, getting the test done again to make sure we are not producing antibodies to milk. I'll probably do that when we retest for gluten antibodies. Being gluten free is easy, compared to gluten & dairy free!

God bless,
Mariann
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Mariann, gluten intolerant and mother of 3 gluten intolerant children




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