What is a Food Allergy?

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So, lets talk about food allergies. Lots of people think they have them, and they may. But a lot of people are self-diagnosed, and they are doing it wrong. Let’s talk about this. There are not only food allergies, but there are a handful of other conditions that are closely related to food allergies, but not.


What is a food allergy? According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases a food Allergy is: an abnormal response to a food, triggered by the body’s immune system. There are several types of immune responses to food. A food allergy is only one type of adverse reaction to food, in which the body produces a specific type of antibody, called immunoglobulin E (IgE).


While only eight foods (milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, and soy) account for approximately 90 percent of all food-allergic reactions, a person can be allergic or have a food allergy-related condition to virtually any food. So what are the other conditions? All this is information is gotten from Food Allergy research and Education in Mclean, VA. Here is the link to their site. http://www.foodallergy.org/home


There are five other conditions that have similar symptoms to food allergies. Hey are: Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), Food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES), Oral allergy syndrome (OAS), Food Intolerances, Lactose Intolerances and Celiac Disease.


I will attempt to give you real short descriptions of each.

  1. Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE)
    1. Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) causes large numbers of eosinophils, a type of white blood cell, to gather in the esophagus (the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach). As a result, the lining of the esophagus becomes inflamed, making it difficult for food to go down. EoE can be triggered by certain foods.  Some people complain that it takes a long time to eat and that eating requires them to drink a lot of water to assist in eating.
  2. Food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES)
    1. Food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES) is a serious, non-IgE-mediated type of food allergy. FPIES is usually triggered by cow’s milk or soy, though some cereal grains, especially rice and oat, and other foods may cause it. The symptoms typically include severe vomiting and diarrhea. Reactions are often delayed by 2-3 hours after the trigger food is eaten.
  3. Oral allergy syndrome (OAS),
    1. Oral allergy syndrome (OAS) is also known as pollen-food syndrome, is a term used to describe itchy or scratchy mouth symptoms caused by raw fruits or vegetables in people who also have hay fever. Symptoms are typically limited to the mouth. This reaction is caused by an allergic response to the pollen that crosses over to similar proteins in the foods. Because these proteins are sensitive to heating, most people affected by OAS can eat cooked fruits or vegetables. Symptoms usually resolve within minutes after the food is swallowed or removed from the mouth, and treatment generally is not necessary.
  4. Food Intolerances
    1. With the exception of celiac disease (see below), food intolerances do not involve the immune system. Although food intolerances may cause some of the same symptoms as a true food allergy, they cannot trigger anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening reaction. Common intolerances include lactose.
  5. Celiac Disease
    1. An adverse reaction to gluten is known as celiac disease or “celiac sprue.” This chronic digestive disease requires a lifelong restriction of gluten, which is found in wheat, rye, barley, and perhaps oats. People with celiac disease must strictly avoid these grains and their by-products.


That is a lot of information. But as I was reading about it, I think it is important to know the information. Also, what is good to know that with few exceptions, we can work with any allergy or intolerance. We already do not have a lot of common allergens in the building like gluten, wheat, grains, lactose, soy and more. Since we already avoid those, making food without other ingredients is a snap.


If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us. We are here to answer your questions.



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