Food Allergies & Food Intolerance

Food Allergies & Food Intolerance

Food Allergies & Food Intolerance
Food allergies occur when the body attacks a food it mistakes as harmful, causing symptoms such as nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea, shortness of breath or hives. With food intolerance, the digestive system alone rejects the food, finding it difficult to digest properly. Foods such as peanuts, shellfish, eggs, soy or wheat are the most common type of food allergens.

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    Fructose intolerance limits your body's ability to use sugar to create energy. As a result, you can suffer from low blood sugar and experience feelings of irritability and sweating. You may also have vomiting or diarrhea. Without treatment, people with fructose intolerance can risk liver damage, coma, and death.

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    Your doctor may start by asking you questions about your soy allergy reactions to determine whether or not you're allergic. The doctor will also likely perform one or two allergy tests. In a skin test, the doctor applies some soy to your skin and then watches to determine whether or not you develop a rash. A blood test measures levels of certain antibodies in your blood. Based on the test results, the doctor will determine the right treatment for your condition.

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    A Pediatrics, answered on behalf of

    Most peanut allergies are first suspected after a person eats peanuts and has an allergic reaction. After treating the immediate symptoms, your doctor may draw blood and look for blood evidence of a peanut allergy. If the blood test is negative, you should see an allergist to find out what caused your reaction.

    If you just happen to do a blood test for food allergies and see a peanut allergy without having symptoms previously, more testing needs to done. Your doctor will likely send you to an allergist for a skin prick test. The skin prick test gives the best information. 

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    Wheat allergies cause the body to react negatively toward wheat protein. When an individual eats wheat products the immune system creates antibodies that attack those wheat proteins. Those antibodies cause an allergic reaction in the body that can range from slight to severe. The symptoms of an allergic reaction can affect the mouth, throat, digestive system, and eyes, causing rashes, irritation, and swelling.

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    With a soy allergy, the immune system releases a chemical called histamine, which leads to traditional symptoms of allergic reactions, such as runny nose, itchy eyes, and rashes or hives. Other common symptoms may include wheezing, diarrhea, nausea, and dizziness. Although most symptoms of soy allergy are mild, it can also result in anaphylactic shock, which can be serious and even deadly. Anaphylactic shock, which is more likely in people with asthma and other conditions, can create airway swelling, a drop in blood pressure, and loss of consciousness.
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    There are a variety of tests and procedures a doctor can use to diagnose wheat allergies. Doctors may have you make a food diary detailing what you eat and how you react to it, or they may do a skin test to see how you react to various allergens. Sometimes doctors at a hospital will watch and monitor you while you try various foods and see how your body reacts. Your doctor may also just ask you to stop eating foods that seem to be giving you trouble and see if that solves the problem, or do a blood test to look for the proper antibodies.
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    Be sure to discuss a variety of topics with your doctor, including symptoms, family history of allergies and any medications you are taking. Your doctor may ask if certain foods seem to trigger symptoms, how much was eaten, and how quickly after a meal those symptoms appear. Since appointments are often short, write down any questions you may have for the doctor so that you can leave with all the information you need. Do not hesitate to ask questions of the doctor, particularly if you are confused or do not understand something. Be aware that your doctor may recommend more testing, including blood tests or skin-prick allergen tests.
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    If you're experiencing symptoms of a soy allergy, you should visit a doctor or allergy specialist. It is best to make this visit while the allergic reaction is occurring. That way, your doctor will better understand and analyze your symptoms and can make recommendations for the most effective treatment. However, if you or your child experiences serious symptoms of a soy allergy, such as airway constriction or loss of consciousness, you should call 911 or go to an emergency room right away.

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    A Allergy & Immunology, answered on behalf of
    The following are foods you should not eat (contain soy) if you have a soy allergy:

    Drinks:
    • Cocoa mixes that contain soy
    • Ovaltine
    • Powdered drink mixes with soy
    • Nondairy creamers
    • High protein powder mixes with soy
    Milk and dairy:
    • Tofu
    • Cheese with soy
    • Soy-based milks, plain or flavored
    • Soy infant formulas
    • Soy yogurt
    Meats and other proteins:
    • Baby food meats or combination dinners with soy
    • Breaded or self-basting meats, fish, and poultry with soy
    • Cold cuts or frankfurters with soy
    • Imitation bacon bits
    • Prepared dinners with soy
    • Vegetarian burgers and sausages
    • Tofu
    • Soy protein isolate
    Fruits:
    • Canned or frozen fruits processed with soy
    Vegetables:
    • Any breaded, canned or frozen vegetables with soy
    • Potatoes, instant, with soy
    • Soy beans, edamame
    Breads, cereals and pasta:
    • Bread and rolls with soy
    • Cold or hot cereals with soy
    • Crackers made with soy
    • Pancake and waffle mixes made with soy
    • Pasta, macaroni, noodles and spaghetti prepared with soy
    • Soy flour, meal, grits, or fiber
    • Zwieback
    Soups:
    • Soups made or prepared using soy (Examples: Campbell's cream of celery and cream of chicken contain soy protein isolates)
    Fats:
    • Butter or margarine with soy
    • Gravy mixes with soy
    • Imitation sour cream
    • Non-dairy creamers or powdered coffee cream with soy protein
    • Oils with soy (may be ok in some people)
    • Peanut butter with soy
    • Salad dressings with soy
    • Vegetable shortenings with soy
    Desserts and sweets:
    • Cakes or cookies with soy
    • Candy (even chocolate) with soy
    • Ice cream with soy
    • Pretzels and chips with soy
    • Pudding mixes containing soy
    • Tofutti
    Miscellaneous:
    • Bac-os bacon-flavored chips with soy
    • McCormick salad toppings with textured soy flour, soy nuts, or hydrolyzed vegetable protein
    • Soy sauce (may be okay)
    • shoyu, tamari, soya
    • Spaghetti sauces with soy
    • Steak sauce with soy
    • Stir-fry sauce with soy
    • Worcestershire sauce containing soy
    • Miso
    • Tempeh
    • Natto
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    It's not really known what makes some people's immune systems respond negatively to soy, so it can't really be prevented. Also, if you have a soy allergy, you can't make the allergy go away. However, you can prevent symptoms caused by allergic reactions. The best way to do this is by avoiding soy products. Let people know that you're allergic to soy so they won't accidentally serve you soy, and carefully inspect food labels. If you know you have a severe soy allergy, carry medications such as antihistamines or epinephrine injectors to prevent life-threatening situations.