Why Are Food Allergy Cases Increasing For Adults And Children?

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Why Are Food Allergy Cases Increasing For Adults And Children?

Food allergies are becoming increasingly common in both children and adults. Approximately one in 12 children and one in 10 adults suffer from food allergies. We now believe some of our previous guidelines for delaying the introduction of allergenic foods into a baby’s diet caused an increase in food allergies.

Gone are the days of waiting until your baby is 1 or 2 years old to try a potentially allergenic food. The most recent evidence-based data suggests that early introduction of allergenic foods is the way to prevent development of food allergies. Infant immune systems are malleable, and the first few months of life are critical for calibrating an immune system’s response to foods.

Baby Food Allergy vs. Food intolerance

Food Intolerance is different from a food allergy, although many people confuse the two. Food Intolerances usually produce uncomfortable symptoms but are not life-threatening. No Immune response occurs with a food intolerance. One common intolerance is lactose intolerance (lactose is a natural sugar found in dairy products.)

Baby Food Allergens - “The Big 9”

Most allergic reactions are caused by the proteins found in 9 different types of food. These are known as The Big 9 Allergens. They are:

  • Peanuts
  • Tree Nuts
  • Eggs
  • Wheat
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Dairy
  • Soy
  • Sesame


Many kids will outgrow their food allergies by their teen years, but this isn’t always the case. The most commonly outgrown allergies are milk, soy, egg, and wheat. Fish, shellfish, peanut, and treenut allergies often last into adulthood.

Important research in the past 15 years has changed our recommendations about when to introduce allergen-containing food to babies. The LEAP study, the LEAP-on study and the EAT study are three key research studies that have shaped the new guidelines on introducing allergens.

These studies showed that introducing allergen-containing foods, like peanut and egg, before the age of 12 months actually helps to prevent food allergies in children.

Similarly, the EAT study showed that children who ate high allergen foods like cow’s milk, peanut, hard-boiled eggs, sesame, fish, and wheat early in life had fewer food allergies develop than those who did not.

Based on the current research, we can reduce the likelihood of a child developing a food allergy by serving these foods before they reach 12 months of age.

Our board-certified allergist and highly trained staff are here to help you navigate food allergies. We will address questions and concerns, and then find treatment and care that is right for you! Get started today.

Jane Lee, M.D. sheds light on recent innovation in the treatment of food allergies. Read more from Dr. Jane Lee at D Magazine

Jane Lee, M.D. sheds light on recent innovation in the treatment of food allergies.


READ MORE from Dr. Jane Lee at D Magazine