When a person has a food allergy, it simply means that their body is overreacting to a protein found in that food. Depending on the severity of the allergy, coming into contact with just a small amount of that food can cause reactions. Many young children are diagnosed with food allergies, but they can occur at any age and can grow out of them. There are eight common foods that cause the majority of allergic reactions; cow’s milk, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat.
Many people who think they have an allergy to foods may just have intolerance. The symptoms between an allergy and intolerance are similar, but the difference between the two is very important. When a person has an allergy to a food, it triggers an immune response that can be life-threatening; they must be very careful to avoid this food trigger.
Some food allergies can be linked to a condition called oral allergy syndrome. The food allergen may have close proteins to other environmental triggers. For example, a person that has an allergy to ragweed may also develop a reaction to bananas or melons.
Common Food Allergies
Eggs are one of the most allergenic of all foods, with just a small amount of this food symptoms can occur within minutes, including life-threatening anaphylaxis. This type of reaction can also been seen with exposure to egg or egg products by routes other than the mouth. Reactions can also occur in children during their first exposure to eating eggs.
The proteins ovalbumin, ovomucoid, and ovotransferrin are identified as major allergens in egg white, but many forms are unnamed or of lesser importance. Certain components of egg may be individually used for specific actions in food preparations, therefore some products may contain egg proteins that may not be able to recognize when reading the label.
The following is a list that may indicate the manifestation of egg protein;
|Albumin||Binder||Coagulant||Egg White||Egg Yolk or Egg Yellow||Emulsifier||Globulin||Lecithin|
|Whole Egg||Baked Goods||Baking mixes||Bouillon||Breakfast Cereal||Cake flour||Candy||Cookies|
|Cream Fillings||Ice cream and sherbet||Cocoa Drinks||Marshmallow||Mayonnaise||Meringues||Muffins||Processed Meat Products|
|Pudding||Salad dressing||Soup||Tartar sauce|
In addition to foods that contain egg protein, many everyday items contain them as well. Cosmetics, shampoos, and pharmaceuticals can contain these proteins. Reading the label of every product that is used topically or consumed orally is the safest practice to avoid contact with egg proteins.
Allergy to Milk Products
Patients that are very sensitive to milk can have symptoms with a very small amount of milk protein, which could include minor contamination or inhalation of milk powder. Milk can be found in a wide variety of processed foods. Milk contamination of a product is possible if the same equipment is used to manufacture various products.
The following is a list of products and items that contain milk protein
|Batter-fried foods||Breakfast cereal||Cakes||Chocolates||Cookies||Instant mashed potatoes||Margarine||Muffins|
|Soup mixes||Soy||Vegetarian cheese||Caramels||Casein||Whey||Lactalbumin||Lactose|
Allergy to Tree Nuts
Tree nuts consist of almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, and walnuts. Tree nuts are cross reactive, meaning if you are allergic to one type of tree nut there is a good chance you are allergic to another type, therefore you should avoid all tree nuts.
Peanuts are considered to be one of the most allergenic foods as well as one of the most common. Peanuts are added to a wide variety of processed foods and very commonly used in oriental cooking. Peanuts may be de-flavored, re-flavored, and pressed into other shapes, such as almonds and walnuts, but still contain the allergenicity of peanuts.
The following is a list of foods that contain peanut protein or oil;
|Baked goods||Baking mix||Battered foods||Biscuits||Breakfast cereal||Candy||Soy||Sunflower Oil||Egg rolls||Ice cream|
|Margarine||Marzipan||Milk||Formula||Pastry||Peanut butter||Maize||Satay sauce||Soups|
|Thai dishes||Vegetable oil||Oriental flavoring sauce||Peanut butter emulsifier||Vegetable burger patties||Sweet lupine seed flower (used to make spaghetti-like pasta)||Sesame Oil|
Patients with peanut allergy need to be very cautious of the foods they eat by reading food labels carefully, as well as products being used on the body. Studies are ongoing about the safety of eating tree nuts if allergic to peanuts. An allergy to peanuts warrants avoidance of all type of nuts to decrease the possibility of a life-threatening reaction.
Allergy to Wheat Products
Wheat is the most common allergy among all cereals. Wheat contains the highest amount of gluten compared to all other grains. Those who have wheat sensitivity should avoid all other types of flours, as they may still contain a small amount of wheat flour or a derivative. Even gluten-free bread can contain a small portion of gluten. Spelt has been advertised to be a wheat substitute, but is part of the wheat family, therefore containing wheat protein.
Below is a list of foods that contain wheat protein;
|All-purpose flour||Bleached flour||Bulgur (cracked wheat)||Cornstarch||Couscous||Durum wheat||Enriched flour|
|Farina||Gelatinized starch||Gluten||Graham flour||Hard Durum flour||High gluten flour||High protein flour|
|Hydrolyzed vegetable protein||Kamut Millers bran||MSG Protein||Semolina spelt starch||Unbleached flour||Vegetable gum||Vegetable starch|
|Wheat bran||Wheat gluten||Wheat Starch||White flour||Whole wheat||Whole wheat flour||Alcoholic beverages (made from grain)|
|Gravy||Hot dogs||Ice cream||Ice cream cones||Lunch meats||Licorice||Macaroni|
|Ale Beer||Wine||Bourbon Whiskey||Baked goods||Baking mixes||Barley Bread||Battered food|
|Bouillon cubes||Breakfast cereals||Candy||Milk shakes||Processed Meats||Sausage||Semolina snack foods|
Patients with wheat allergy need to be very cautious of the foods they eat by reading food labels carefully, as well as products being used on the body.
Shellfish and crustaceans are commonly cross reactive, meaning if you are allergic one, you should avoid all of them. Crayfish, crab, lobster, and shrimp are the common crustacean allergens. Shellfish allergens include clams, mussels, oysters, and scallops. Any person with a shellfish allergy should procedure cautiously when eating fish, because they may be processed together.
Soy is used frequently in many food items and because of this it is often a hidden allergen. As with other food allergens, a small amount of soy can cause life-threatening anaphylactic reactions in patients with a severe allergy. Soybeans may be consumed as whole beans, flour, or oil. Soy is also used as a texturizer, emulsifier, and protein filler.
The following is a list of foods and products that contain soy protein;
|Adhesive blankets||Body lotions and creams||Dog food||Enamel paints||Fabric finishes||Fertilizers||Flooring||Soaps|
|Gum Arabic bulking agent||Carob emulsifier||Guar gum||Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP)||Lecithin||Miso||MSG Protein||Protein extender|
|Soy flour||Soy nuts||Soy panthenol||Soy protein||Soy protein isolate||Soy sauce||Soybean||Soybean oil|
|Stabilizer starch||Textured vegetable protein (TVP)||Tofu||Vegetable broth||Vegetable gum||Vegetable starch||Baby foods||Bakery goods|
|Black pudding bread||Breakfast cereals||Some burger patties||Butter substitutes||Cakes||Candy||Canned meat or fish||Canned soup|
|Canned tuna||Artificial cheese||Chinese food||Cream centered chocolates||Cookies||Crackers||Gravy powders||Hamburger patties|
|Hot dogs||Hydrolyzed vegetable protein||Ice cream||Infant formula||Liquid meat replacer||Sausage||Worcestershire||Sweet and Sour sauce|
|Teriyaki||Bouillon cubes||Soy Milk|
Soy is so widely used that it is very hard to eliminate from a person’s diet, but patients with a soy allergy need to be very cautious of the foods they eat by reading food labels carefully, as well as products being used on the body.