Are you suffering from Food Allergies without knowing it?

Food allergies have become quite the topic of discussion over the past several years. And it seems like people tend to be on one side or the other of the subject. You’re either in the camp of “you’re all just faking it, food allergies don’t really exist,” or the opposite of “I suffer from food allergies and it is absolutely miserable.” For those of you skeptics, I want to share some facts about food sensitivities with you. You may be suffering from what you’re eating without even realizing it.

First, let’s look at the statistics:

  • 32 million Americans suffer from food allergies, with 5.6 million being children under the age of 18. That equates to 10% of the population being affected. That equates to 10% of the total U.S. population being affected, and 7.7% of U.S. children.
  • 40% of children affected suffer from more than one food sensitivity
  • There are eight major food allergens; milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish and crustacean shellfish – are responsible for most of the serious food allergy reactions in the United States. However, more than 170 foods have been identified as causing allergic reactions.
  • Each year, 200,000 people require emergency medical attention for allergic reactions to food
  • More than 40% of children with food allergies have suffered from a severe, anaphylactic, reaction to food.
  • There is no cure for food allergies. Avoidance and management of symptoms (when exposed) is the only way to mitigate reactions

statistics from

Now let’s talk about the 60% of people who have NOT suffered an anaphylactic reaction. Many people are unaware of their food sensitivities because they have atypical reactions. Everyone knows that hives, scratchy throats, itchy or watery eyes, and shortness of breath are signs of an allergic reaction. But did you know that digestive reactions can mask themselves in all sorts of different forms? Here is a list of some of the atypical symptoms that you may be suffering from without an explanation of the cause:

  • environmental allergies that aren’t helped by allergy medication
  • asthma
  • migraines
  • joint pain, swelling, or stiffness (especially in the knees)
  • weight gain or difficulty losing weight despite a healthy diet and exercise routine
  • weak immune system
  • ear infections
  • anxiety
  • difficulty focusing or concentrating
  • blood clots
  • acid reflux
  • frequent vomiting; dry heaving
  • inconsistent menstrual cycles
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • mouth sores
  • acne
  • eczema

Food allergies can also disguise themselves as certain diseases and disorders, but when the food allergen is removed, that illness gets better, or sometimes goes away. Some of the more common ailments include like this include ADHD and rheumatoid arthritis. Furthermore, for people with allergies to eggs, severe adverse reactions to vaccinations such as flu shots, as well as false positive results on tuberculosis tests, are a common symptom.

There are different methods of determining food allergies, with some being more accurate than others. One of the most accurate methods of testing is a blood panel. Some doctors will suggest getting a scratch test done, however, it is important to note that a scratch test will only conclude the allergens that will cause a histamine reaction such as hives. For digestive allergies to be diagnosed, blood is the most accurate indicator.

If you’ve been suffering from any ailments that are unexplainable, such as any of the symptoms listed above, with no relief from medical treatments, ask your doctor to food allergy test you. If nothing else, you’ll take the test, find out you’re not allergic to anything, and go on living your life eating whatever you please with no fear of getting sick from it. But you may just find out that you are part of that 10%, and once you know what foods to eliminate from your diet, you’ll be on the road to feeling better than you ever have before.

Do yourself a favor and find out what foods are not serving your body well. You’ll thank yourself later.

by Dannielle Wood, Personal Trainer

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