Why The Increase in Food Allergies?
Studies show that there has been a sharp increase in food allergies over the last 5-10 years, particularly in children. This is not limited to the U.S. but in Australia and the UK as well. A common question is why? Although no definitive answer is available, there are a few theories.
Early introduction. There are some that say we introduce peanuts at an early age which is sensitizing children. Over the years I have heard this theory as well as another theory that suggested early introduction to the allergen might be helpful.
Recently in what they are calling a “land mark study”, the LEAP study, early introduction was found to help sensitize young children. This study has caused a great deal of concern in the food allergy community. Consult your physician before giving peanuts to a “high-risk” baby.
The hygiene hypothesis believes that our immune systems have little to fight anymore because we live in a cleaner, healthier, antibacterial world and therefore, the immune system reacts to certain food proteins and mistakes them for a threat. Recently information came out on food allergies among those who use dish washer.
Roasted Peanuts. Some believe the use of roasted peanuts in food (heating changes the protein which the body is more likely to react to), rather than raw/boiled peanuts.
- The increased use of soy in formula and other processed food (soy and peanut are both beans)
- The increase in processed foods and potentially harmful chemicals being infiltrated into our food system.
It probably could be a combination of any of these theories combined with a genetic component. Whether or not the abundance of processed foods and GMO’s are a factor in food allergies has not been proven however, my research has made me a believer in eliminating as much of these from my families diet as possible. It can be overwhelming and I by no means am as far along cleaning up our food and our home as I would like, but I am taking small steps to improve. I thought it would be fun to share my tips, experiences and favorite finds on clean eating efforts.