The Most (and Least) Common Food Allergens - Apple Health and Wellness

The Most (and Least) Common Food Allergens

October 17, 2018 by Chris Gerard

Does your throat feel itchy when you eat certain foods? Maybe you avoid eating milk products or bread because they hurt your stomach? Possibly, you aren’t sure what is causing you to feel so badly after you eat?

You might be suffering from a food allergy and should consider getting tested to improve your quality of life and avoid suffering from a bad allergic reaction in the future. To know what to test for, here are a few common and uncommon food allergens you should know about.

Common Food Allergens

Did you know that only eight allergens are responsible for around 90 percent of all food allergic reactions? In 2004, The Food and Drug Administration passed the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) to require food manufacturers to label their packaging to let consumers know if their products contained one of these eight foods.

Known as the “Big Eight,” these common food allergens are:

  • tree nuts
  • milk
  • eggs
  • soy
  • wheat
  • shellfish
  • peanuts
  • soybeans.

Despite their prevalence, some of these allergens do go away with time, as 68 percent of children with egg sensitivities and 70 percent with soy allergies outgrow them by the time they reach adulthood. Even so, it’s important to get tested for the “Big Eight” as an adult to avoid encountering potentially dangerous allergic reactions.

Uncommon Food Allergens   

Unlike the previously mentioned “Big Eight,” there are plenty of other less-common, yet still problematic food allergens. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 160 foods have been known to cause some allergic reactions, which is why it is important to get tested and be aware of how you feel after you eat certain items. Some of the stranger, more uncommon food allergies include:

Avocados, Bananas, and Kiwis
The American Latex Allergy Association has found that up to 50 to 70 percent of individuals with a latex allergy also have sensitivities or allergic reactions to certain fruits, which include avocados, bananas, kiwi, and more. While this cross-reactivity isn’t a guarantee, it would be wise to get tested for these foods if you already suffer from a latex allergy.

Red Meat

Though relatively rare, this allergy is usually related to beef, lamb, pork, and goat products. Some experts believe this allergy is closely related to a ticket bite from the Lone Star tick, which is found in the Southeast. Many people who develop an allergy to one type of meat, develop an allergy for other meats, as well.

Sesame Seeds
Much like the nut allergy, people who are allergy to sesame seeds have very severe reactions, yet only around 0.1 percent of the population suffers from this condition. The problem is, however, that it can be difficult to spot these seeds in your food and many dishes involve cooking with sesame oil, which can result in the same or similar allergic reaction.

This allergy may relate to any citrus fruit ranging from oranges to lemons to grapefruits. Many experts believe there is also cross-reactivity between these fruits, meaning that, if you are allergic to one, it is highly likely that you are allergic to another citrus fruit.

Additionally, it is also important to be aware of a few “hidden triggers” for certain processed foods. For example, some packaged hot dogs contain milk proteins, salad dressings are made with soybean oil, and water-packed tuna may have added milk products. Always closely read food labels if you know or suspect you may have a food allergy.

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