There are many people who have either food allergies or food sensitivities. Some also develop a food aversion; however this is a physiological disorder than a physical one. Food allergies affect 2-8% of all children and nearly 2% of all adults. Most will have more than one food allergy at a time (Source: Nutrition MD).
The most common allergy is to milk and milk products with about 2.5 % of the population having some level of this allergy. While this one might be outgrown eventually, other food allergies, such as peanuts and shellfish (both of which can be fatal) may not be (Source: Roizen, MD and Oz, MD 2006).
The most common food allergies result from: milk, eggs, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, fish and shellfish.
There is a difference between food allergy and food sensitivity: an allergy involves the immune system while the sensitivity does not. With a food allergy, the immune system reacts to a compound in the food, typically a protein and the antibodies react and cause a number of different symptoms which include: bloating, headaches, hives, or diarrhea.
Testing for food allergies can be difficult, but can also be necessary to find the offending culprit. Using the elimination diet can be helpful, but it can often take three of four weeks to recognize the offending food or food group that is causing the problems. Wheat products, which include rye, barley, and oats, should be the first to eliminate and check for improvement. It should then be dairy products, refined sugars, saturated and/or trans fats, and artificial colors or flavors. After the food has been excluded from the diet for at least ten days, reintroduce it to see if there is any further reaction. Only introduce one food at a time every four days, so that you are sure of which food is the culprit and which is not. It is beneficial to keep a food diary as well.
Food allergies can cause or worsen many common medical conditions as well. These include: anemia, high blood pressure, fatigue, eczema, asthma, migraines, ear infections, sinusitis, hearing loss, thyroid disease, hay fever, fibrocystic breast disease, kidney disease, diabetes, arthritis, gall bladder disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and heartburn (Source: Gottlieb, 2000).
Not all food allergies are so severe that they cause immediate reactions. Some may take as long as three days to cause symptoms that may or may not be related to the food. Some food allergies however can be so severe that they are immediately life threatening.
There is a test that can check for allergies to up to one hundred foods, however the elimination diet should still be used. In addition to allergies that occur because of genetics or other factors, there is a chance of developing food allergies because the same food is being eaten far too often, so experts suggest that each food is only eaten once every four days with the emphasis on natural foods that are chemical free and as natural as possible. Most people with food allergies or sensitivities are also allergic to chemicals and artificial ingredients.
Avoiding Allergens While Living Healthy
Of course, if a food is going to make you bloated or ill, you will avoid it, however if you do not know what is making the symptoms happen, you will have a hard time choosing healthy foods that will still allow you to be allergy free. Some of the healthiest food suggestions may also be some of the most problematic. After finding out what foods are triggers, you can learn to deal with them correctly.
A healthy diet must be balanced and for those who have food allergies, there might need to be some foods or entire food groups that will need to be substituted for. Milk is one of the easiest foods to substitute, in cooking and for other purposes. For those who are allergic to milk, whey protein may also be off limits. Soy and eggs are also common allergens, leaving rice protein powders as a viable substitute that can be used in the diet in their place. Rice protein is hypoallergenic and can be used to supplement the foods that you can still eat. Rice milk can be used in place of cow or soy milk, for instance.
A soy allergy eliminates a number of food types, including soy milk, of course, tofu, miso, and tempeh. Soy protein is also used as a filler material for a number of processed foods, so always read labels carefully and learn what the ingredients mean.
Proasis from Protica is the first all natural liquid protein supplement that can be used in the diet of those with food allergies. It is both cold and heat stable allowing it to be able to be boiled or frozen. It is preservative free, lactose free, aspartame free, egg free, yeast, wheat, and gluten free. In addition, Proasis is cholesterol and fat free, stimulant free, and is low in sodium. It comes in a number of fruit based flavors.
Profect, another supplement from Protica, the makers of Proasis, is a 25 gram protein supplement shot that can be consumed in only a few seconds. It is only 100 calories per serving with zero fats and zero carbohydrates. In addition to the 25 gram version, there are several other sizes available (50 gram and 200 gram bottles) and a number of fruit based flavors. Flavors include: Passion Fruit, Orange Pineapple, Ruby melon Twist, Fuzzy Peach Nectar, Blue Raspberry Swirl, Grapefruit Mango, Fresh Citrus Berry and Cool Melon Splash.
Sensitivities and Lesser Intolerances
Those who do not have full blown allergies may be able to tolerate some of the known allergens, however it is important to make sure that if you are adding them to the diet that you watch for signs of progression from one to the other. Remember, allergies involve the immune system, sensitivities and intolerances do not. People who are sensitive to some foods should consider using the isolate version of protein supplements like whey and soy, rather than the concentrate. Whey isolate has less lactose than the whey concentrate so it may be more easily tolerated.
Other Food Considerations
Because chemicals, food additives, and artificial colors can be major causes of allergies, it is important to eat foods that are as close to nature as possible. In addition to making sure that there are no ingredients listed that might cause problems, opt for fresh fruits and vegetables and organic meats and eggs, if you are able to eat them. If the problem is with preservatives or the processing, eating a raw food diet may be beneficial as well. It is a common myth that a vegan or vegetarian diet is deficient in protein, however as long as the diet is varied, there is more than enough calories and nutrients to be considered healthy. (Source: The Vegetarian Society)