As kids, it was normal for many of us to bring peanut butter sandwiches to school or even share our lunches with each other. Today, many schools have banned any nut related meals (even if brought from home) or food sharing to accommodate for growing food allergies in children. A study released in 2013 by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows that food allergies among children increased by approximately 50% between 1997 and 2011. As a serious medical condition, food allergies affect 1 in 13 children in the United States.
Food Allergy vs. Food Sensitivity
A food allergy involves the immune system. The immune system mistakes the target food protein as a threat and attacks it, causing a series of reactions involving antibodies and an allergic response. The body’s immune system is triggered and can cause a serious medical emergency.
A food sensitivity or intolerance means the immune system is not involved, even though some of the symptoms can be similar. While food allergies can be life-threatening, a food intolerance or sensitivity is not. Please always check with your doctor to determine whether you have a food sensitivity/intolerance or a food allergy.
Big 8 Allergens
The most common foods that account for 90% of food allergies are:
- Tree Nuts