Big 8 Allergies

By Heather Legg

I came across a great piece the other day with a thorough breakdown of the big 8 allergies. We know them as wheat, soybeans, fish, shellfish, eggs, cow’s milk, peanuts and tree nuts, and these 8 foods cause 90% of food allergic reactions. That’s not to say that there aren’t plenty of other foods that cause allergies (kiwi and avocados some big ones), but these are the major ones. These are the ones you read about and see postings for in restaurants and on ingredient lists.

Since it is a new year, I liked the idea of touching on these eight foods, with a quick run down of where they are found and a few other interesting and important facts. Check out the article in its entirety here for even more information.

Let’s start with cow’s milk. Many people are intolerant to lactose (milk) but an allergy is much more than stomach cramps; it can be life threatening and just a trace of milk can cause it, unlike intolerance which usually is in larger quantities. Some foods that can trigger a milk allergy, besides milk, are any other dairy food, like butter, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, anything with milk or cream in it. One good think about a milk allergy is it often grown out of; on the down side, children who are allergic to milk often display other allergies as they get older, both food and environmental. Some good alternatives are soy milk and almond milk and products if these are not allergens.

Next is egg allergies. Like milk, these are often grown out of as children get older. People with egg allergies need to be careful with vaccines as some of the contain egg proteins. Other things to watch for are certain food sauces, like hollandaise, any baked goods and frostings, creamed soups and prepared foods. There are some good egg substitutes on the market, but be careful with eggs in unexpected places.

Peanut allergies seem to get the most recognition and publicity. It’s the most dangerous and life threatening of the allergens as it is the top cause for anaphylaxis. Peanut and peanut derivatives are found in a wide variety of foods so vigilance is very important. Though not as many outgrow this allergy as others, 20% will. Tree nuts rank second in the fatal food allergy reactions. Though some people allergic to tree nuts are allergic to peanuts, this in not always the case, and vice versa. Some will outgrow this allergy, but like peanuts, not as many as with other allergies.

Fish and shellfish allergies seem to manifest in late teens or even adulthood, therefore are much less likely to be outgrown. These account for 7 million people with allergies. Some people will be only allergic to certain fish and seafood, and others completely different ones.

Soy allergies are very common in childhood and because soy is so prevalent in many foods, it can be difficult to manage. Almost 70% of children with soy allergies will outgrow them by age 10.

Wheat allergy is different than celiac disease. Those with wheat allergies can outgrow them, while celiac is a lifelong condition. Many people now are choosing to go gluten free and finding many symptoms like headaches and tiredness go away. Wheat is found in many products, but more and more we are seeing good wheat alternatives.

1 Comment »

Thanks for linking to our post! We have several new food allergy posts in our Food Allergies archive (check it out from the link you have up), from comprehensive food allergy cookbooks to must-follow food allergy Twitter users.

January 11th, 2011 | 11:54 am
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