There was a time when food allergies were of little concern. That has changed as we see grocery store shelves stocked with gluten free, dairy free, soy free, nut free and other allergin free foods that at one time could only be bought on-line in specialty stores.
This convenience can be a life saver (literally) for those that have severe allergic reactions to certain foods.
Today about 11 million Americans suffer from food allergies, and many scientists agree the numbers are climbing. Most significantly is peanut allergies, which has doubled between 1997 and 2002 in children under 5. Why do allergies appear to be on the rise?
The most intriguing and popular theory is the “hygiene hypothesis” which suggests that we’ve become too clean with our obsession of anti-bacterial soaps, vaccines, antibiotics and clean water. Our immune system, designed to battle dangerous foreign invaders (parasites, viruses and infections) starts to battle innocuous substances, like eggs or wheat, instead. Also, the rate of Caesarean sections has risen 40% in the last decade and kids born by C-section are at higher risk for allergies because they were never exposed to healthy bacteria in their mothers’ birth canals (stay tuned for the next podcast on beneficial bacteria).
As food allergies continue to rise, manufacturers try to invent more foods that people can eat that are tasty. Read more…
Thanks to these products, people with food sensitivities have more meal options than ever before….