Top 10 Food Allergy Myths

In modern society allergy is big part of our life, so what are top myth to stop believing in.

1.You’re “allergic” to any food that gives you problems.

This statement is false, since there are several problems that can arise after eating specific foods, the majority of which are unrelated to allergy. True allergies to foods are immunologic reactions involving the class of immunoglobulins (proteins that assist in the body’s immune response) known as immunoglobulin (Ig) E. Other kinds of reactions to foods that are not food allergies include food intolerances (such as lactose or milk intolerance ), food poisoning, and toxic reactions.

The prevalence of food allergy in the population is much lower than the prevalence of adverse reactions to foods. It is estimated that true food allergies occur in 2% to 5% of the population.

2.Food allergies can be mild.

Truth:  Yes, reactions can be mild, but even if someone has experienced mild reactions (such as a rash) in the past, they can still have an anaphylactic response to the next exposure.  Allergies are unpredictable.  Here are some possible reactions to exposure to peanuts:  rash, vomiting, diarrhea, drop in blood pressure, swelling, losing the ability to breath (which will cause death if not treated immediately).

3.Food allergy is the same as “intolerance” or “sensitivity.”

There are similarities, for sure. Allergy, intolerance, and sensitivity are a little bit like siblings. They all belong to the same “family” of bad reactions to food. But there are big differences.

An allergy happens when the immune system, your body’s defense against germs, has a reaction to a particular food. It can be mild, like an itchy feeling or hives. Sometimes you get severe symptoms — called anaphylaxis — like trouble breathing, a swollen tongue, or dizziness.
Food intolerance means your body is missing an enzyme you need to digest some type of food. If you’re lactose intolerant, for instance, you don’t have enough lactase, an enzyme that lets you digest dairy products. If you’re gluten intolerant, you can’t process gluten, which is found in some grains including wheat, barley, and rye.

4.You cannot have an allergic reaction on the first known oral exposure to a food allergen.


Over one‐third of IgE‐mediated allergic reactions occur to a food with no known prior ingestion.

The why?

It is immunologically required to be exposed to antigen/allergen in order to switch B cells from IgM to IgE production and for affinity maturation of B cell responses. This initial exposure (and sensitisation in allergic individuals) to an allergen may occur through the gut via allergens in breast milk,12 the skin particularly in children with a breakdown in the normal skin barrier such as those infants with eczema,13 or more rarely via the respiratory tract without any apparent ingestion of the food in question.

5.All food allergies in children resolve as they get older.” 

As they grow older, some children may tolerate foods that previously caused allergic reactions. This is more likely to happen in the case of allergies to milk, eggs, and wheat, in which the severity of reactions (or symptoms) may decrease by late childhood.

It is not clear in all cases, however, if the improved symptoms are an indication that the allergy has disappeared. Peanut allergy is the least likely to go away. To determine if a food allergy has gone away after an appropriate strict elimination period (typically greater than a year) an oral challenge should be undertaken by an allergist skilled in conducting these challenges.

6. As long as you don’t introduce a food to a child at too young of an age, and no one in your family has food allergies, your child will not develop one.

Truth:  Nobody knows what causes food allergies.  Also, even if no one in your family has ever had a food allergy, your child could develop one (as in our case).  No one is safe from food allergies.  They can even develop as an adult to a food you’ve eaten your whole life.

7.Most food allergies are caused by additives such as artificial colors and flavorings.

“Absolutely a myth,” McMorris says. It’s true that some reactions to additives are similar to those caused by food allergies. Nitrates, for instance, can cause hives and itching. And red and yellow food coloring have been linked to anaphylaxis.

The actual allergy triggers are the proteins in the food, McMorris says. Food additive intolerance is rare. Less than 1% of adults have it.

8.Only children who have had a history of anaphylaxis need an adrenaline autoinjector.


It is not necessary for a child to have previously experienced anaphylaxis in order to be assessed as being ‘at risk of anaphylaxis’.

The why?

Whether or not a child with an IgE‐mediated food allergy is at risk of anaphylaxis is a clinical judgment that must be considered for all individuals presenting with an IgE‐mediated food allergy. There is no current test (skin test and OFC or other) that can reliably determine this risk.

The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) guidelines state that an adrenaline autoinjector (AAI) prescription is recommended for individuals with a history of anaphylaxis and may also be recommended if there are other known risk factors for more severe or fatal reactions. This includes children with a history of a generalised allergic reaction and any one of the following: adolescent age group, nut allergy, comorbid conditions (e.g. asthma and arrhythmia) or limited access to emergency medical care.

9.Peanut allergy is the most common food allergy.”

 Peanut allergy is the food allergy most likely to result in anaphylactic reactions (severe, potentially fatal allergic reactions), but only about 0.6% of the population is affected by peanut allergy. The most common food allergies reported by adults are allergies to fruits and vegetables.

Any food you’re allergic to could cause a serious reaction, whether it’s peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, wheat, soy, fish, or shellfish. Those eight foods make up 90% of food allergies in the U.S. All of them have the potential to be life-threatening, McMorris says.

10.Oral desensitisation is a cure for food allergy.


Although small studies suggest that desensitisation with a daily dose of allergen can be achieved for a majority of children with egg, milk and peanut allergy, the majority of children remain allergic once the daily therapy is ceased with current oral immunotherapy regimes and both minor and serious side effects are common.

The why?

Recent studies have reported successful desensitisation with oral immunotherapy (OIT) to peanut, milk and egg. This therapy is generally based upon daily administration of gradually increases allergen doses allergen with up‐dosing and maintenances phases. These have shown a capacity to induce desensitisation in allergic individuals, albeit with both mild and severe allergic symptoms during therapy in a significant proportion of patients.

However, the proportion of children reported to maintain sustained tolerance once regular daily administration of the allergen is ceased is disappointing low at less than 25% with high rates of side effects.

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Top 10 Most Common Food Allergies

In the list you will find foods that you buy everyday.

1. Milk

Cow’s milk allergy is the most common food allergy among children, affecting about 2-3% of children, although many children will outgrow their allergy before school age.2,3 However, recent research indicates that children who have milk allergy may be less likely to outgrow their allergy than they were in previous decades


An egg allergy is the second most common cause of food allergy in children

However, 68% of children who are allergic to eggs will outgrow their allergy by the time they’re 16.

Symptoms include:

  • Digestive distress, such as a stomach ache
  • Skin reactions, such as hives or a rash
  • Respiratory problems
  • Anaphylaxis (which is rare)

Interestingly, it’s possible to be allergic to egg whites, but not the yolks, and vice versa. This is because the proteins in egg whites and egg yolks differ slightly.

Yet most of the proteins that trigger an allergy are found in egg whites, so an egg white allergy is more common

Like other allergies, the treatment for an egg allergy is an egg-free diet (13).

However, you may not have to avoid all egg-related foods, as heating eggs can change the shape of the allergy-causing proteins. This can stop your body from seeing them as harmful, meaning they’re less likely to cause a reaction


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 eat 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.

This is because the allergens in these fish are quite similar. Cooking doesn’t destroy fish allergens. In fact, some people with a fish allergy can be allergic to cooked but not raw fish.


Wheat contains the protein gluten which people who suffer from the coeliac disease are allergic to. In many cases, a person suffering from the coeliac disease can tolerate rice but not other wheat-related grains such as oats, rye or barley. Currently, there is no cure for the coeliac disease and those who suffer from it are typically advised to refrain from eating foods that contain gluten.

If gluten is ingested, a person who is allergic to it can experience various symptoms, ranging from mild to life-threatening. They can include:

  • Inflammation in the abdomen and bowel, which is often painful
  • Diarrhoea, bloating and cramping
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Muscle pains
  • Skin irritations


Peanut allergy affects between 1-2% of children and 0.6% of the overall U.S. population.2 Peanut allergic individuals may experience mild to life-threatening reactions, which can be unpredictable.

To prevent an allergic reaction to peanuts, all foods that contain or may contain peanuts should be avoided. Peanuts must be listed on food labels under the ingredient list or in a “contains” statement. Lupin is not a peanut ingredient, but has been reported to cause cross-reactivity reactions for peanut allergic individuals. 

6.Tree Nuts

A tree nut allergy is an allergy to some of the nuts and seeds that come from trees.It’s a very common food allergy that’s thought to affect around 1% of the US population

Some examples of tree nuts include:

  • Brazil nuts
  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Pistachios
  • Pine nuts
  • Walnuts

People with a tree nut allergy will also be allergic to food products made with these nuts, such as nut butters and oils.


Soybean allergy is a common childhood allergy. Most people grow out of it by the age of two, but occasionally adults are allergic to soybean. The symptoms of soybean allergy are similar to milk allergy, and they include:

  • rashes
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • stomach cramps

Some people with soybean allergy might also react to milk. Very rarely, soybean can cause anaphylaxis.

Soybean 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.

8.Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds are especially potent when it comes to food allergens and are most often a lifelong allergy. An allergy to sesame seeds is also particularly difficult to control as the food label does not always specifically say sesame seeds. Other names indicate the presence of sesame seeds; for example, sim sim, benne or gingelly seeds. Both the people suffering from sesame seed allergies and food handlers need to be aware of each different name that can indicate the presence of sesame seeds.

Sesame seeds are tiny and it doesn’t take many to cause and allergic reaction. Some of the symptoms can be:

  • Skin irritations and rashes
  • Abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Itchy mouth, throat or eyes
  • Swelling of the face, nose or mouth
  • Shortness of breath
  • Anaphylactic reactions – in severe cases

9.Crustacean Shellfish

Shellfish allergy may affect as many as 2.6% of women and 1.5% of men.2Crustacean shellfish includes shrimp, lobster and crab and are the foods within the shellfish category that cause the most…Read More

allergic reactions, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.7Mollusks, such as scallops, clams and mussels, are often tolerated by those with shellfish allergy, but allergic individuals should discuss the risks with their healthcare provider. As with all food allergies, careful avoidance should be maintained to avoid accidental ingestion of allergenic food. Avoiding seafood restaurants and foods with “seafood” in the name (ex. “seafood chowder”) is an important strategy for avoidance. 

Common foods that may contain crustacean shellfish (not an exhaustive list): 

✓ Shrimp, lobster and crab
✓ Prawns
✓ Crayfish or crawfish
✓ “Fish” or “seafood” broth Asian sauces or sauce mixes
✓ Sushi
✓ Artificial crab sticks (surimi)
✓ Seafood or artificial flavoring

10.Other common food allergies

People can be allergic to almost any food. As a result, there are many allergies that affect a lot of people but aren’t part of the big eight; these include:

  • Cereal allergy – the most common foods in this category are oats, wheat, maize (corn), rice, rye, and barley.
  • Coconut allergy – uncommon, though patients may experience anaphylaxis. Those with other nut allergies are more likely to be allergic to coconut.
  • Fruit and vegetable allergy – allergic reactions to fruits and vegetables are usually mild. Cooking vegetables often destroys the allergens.
  • Pine nut allergy – pine nuts can cause severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis. People who are allergic to pine nuts might also react to peanuts and nuts, such as almonds.
  • Meat allergy – people with a meat allergy might react to beef, mutton, pork, or chicken. Cooking destroys some of the allergens in meat, but some people will still react.
  • Quorn allergy – Quorn is a type of protein, which is made from a fungus. There have been some reports of intolerance to Quorn, but this is not surprising because allergens are usually proteins.
  • Rice allergy – people who are allergic to rice can react when they eat it or when they inhale its pollen.
  • Spice allergy – reactions to spices are usually mild, but severe reactions can happen occasionally. Some people react to mustard, coriander, caraway, fennel, paprika, or saffron.

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