Common Food Allergies

By May 17, 2022General

Common Food Allergies
by Yvonne Mei

Food allergies affect around 32 million people in the US, including 5.6 million children under the age of 18. That is 1 in 13 children.(1) A food allergy is an abnormal response to certain foods. It is triggered by the body’s immune system, mistakenly identifying the food as something dangerous. As a result, the body creates antibodies to fight the food allergen leading to allergic reactions. 

Reactions can vary in severity and can be potentially life-threatening.(2,3) Mild allergy reactions may present as hives or minor abdominal pain.(3) More severe allergic reactions can involve severe anaphylaxis with low blood pressure and loss of consciousness.(2) 

Food allergies can occur at any stage of life. (2) The most common food allergies in children that account for 90% of all allergies are milk, eggs, peanuts, soy, wheat, tree nuts, fish and shellfish.(2)

It might seem difficult to know what foods to avoid and it can feel limiting. Here we list some of the foods that might contain common allergens and some substitutions or alternatives for common foods!

Milk/Dairy

  • Foods to avoid (4,5): butter, cheese, cream, custard, milk, yogurt, ice cream
  • Dairy-based ingredients (4,5): casein, , ghee, hydrolysates, lactalbumin, lactoglobulin, lactose, lactulose, nisin, nougat, recaldent, whey
  • Potential Substitutions (6,7)
    • Milk – Lactaid, Soy Milk, Rice Milk, Oat Milk
    • Yogurt – Coconut Milk Yogurt, Almond Milk Yogurt, Soymilk Yogurt
    • Cheese – Goat Cheese, Plant-Based Cheese, Nut-Based
    • Butter – Vegetable Oil Blends, Coconut Butter, Vegan Butter, Nut Butter

Eggs

  • Common foods that contain eggs (8): Pancakes, Muffins, Some Pastas, Baked Goods, Casseroles, Custards, Pudding, Ice Cream, Mayonnaise, Cream Sauces
  • Egg-based ingredients (8): Albumin, Globulin, Livetin, Lysozyme, Ovalbumin, Ovomucoid, Ovovitellin, Surimi, Lecithin, Nougat
  • Potential substitutions (9):  
    • Baking – Applesauce, Mashed Bananas, Ground Flaxseeds, Silken Tofu
    • Burritos/Fried Rice – Tofu, Seitan
    • Meringues, Foams, Soups – Chickpea Water (aquafaba)

Peanuts

  • Common foods that contain peanuts10, (11,12): Cereals, Granola, Chili and soups (peanuts or peanut butter sometimes used as thickeners), Grain Breads, Veggie Burgers, Sauces, Dressings, Nougat
  • Peanut-based ingredients (10,11,12): Goobers, Mixed Nuts, Nut Meat, Lupin, Monkey Nuts, Beer Nuts, Artificial Nuts, Peanut Protein Hydrolysate
  • Potential Substitutions (13,14)
    • Chopped Nuts – Pretzels, Seeds
    • Peanut Butter – Sunflower Seed Butter, Almond Butter, Soy Butter

Soy

  • Foods to avoid (15,16,17): Soy Milk/Cheese/Ice Cream/Yogurt, Soy Flour, Tofu, Miso, Natto, Shoyu, Tempeh, Soy Sauce, Tamari, Teriyaki, Edamame
  • Soy-based ingredients (16,17): Hydrolyzed Soy Protein (HSP), Soy Albumin, Soy Fiber, Soy Flour, Soy Grits, Soy Protein, Monosodium glutamate (MSG), Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), Hydrolyzed Plant Protein, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Vegetable Broth/Gum/Starch
  • Potential Substitutions (18,19,20)
    • Soy Sauce – Olive Brine, Balsamic Vinegar, Soy-Free Miso Sauce
    • Teriyaki Sauce  – Sweet and Sour Sauce
    • Soy Paste (Miso) – Chickpea Miso (South River Miso Company, Miso Master), Adzuki Bean Miso (South River Miso Company)

Wheat

  • Foods to avoid (21): Breads, Cereals, Crackers, Pasta, Farina, Farro
  • Wheat-based ingredients21: Bran, Bulgur, Cereal Extract, Cracker Meal, Durum, Einkorn, Emmer, Enriched/All-purpose/Graham Flour, Farina, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Matzoh, Seitan, Semolina, Spelt, Sprouted Wheat, Triticale
  • Potential Substitutions (22)
    • Flour – Rice Flour, Potato Starch Flour, Soy Flour, Tapioca Flour, Corn Flour
    • Noodles – Wheat Free Pastas, Gluten-Free Pasta
    • Breadcrumbs – Shredded Parmesan, Crumbled Wheat-Free Crackers, Cornmeal
    • Thickener – Cornstarch, Rice Flour, Pureed Tofu

Tree Nut

  • Foods to avoid (23,24): Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Cashews, Chestnuts, Hazelnuts, Macadamia Nuts, Pecans, Pine Nuts, Pistachios, Walnuts
  • Tree-nut based ingredients (23,24): Artificial Nuts, Gianduja, Nut Butters, Nut Meal, Nut Meat, Nut Milk, Nut Oils, Nut Paste, Nut Flavorings or Extracts, Nut Liqueurs
  • Potential Substitutions (25)
    • Nut Butters – Sunflower Seed Butter
    • Baking – Oatmeal/Rolled Oats, Granola, Crisp Rice Cereal, Pumpkin/Sunflower Seeds, Raisins, Dried Cranberries

Fish & Shellfish

  • Foods to avoid (26,27): Fish, Crustaceans & Mollusks
  • Unexpected sources (26,27): BBQ Sauce, Caesar Dressing, Imitation/Artificial Fish or Shellfish, Worcestershire Sauce, Omega-3 Supplements
  • Potential Substitutions (28,29)
    • Alternative Protein Sources – Tofu, legumes, beans, poultry, meat, grains, dairy, eggs, seeds
    • Fish Sauce –  Soy Sauce, Tamari, Hoisin Sauce
    • Omega-3 –  Freshly Ground Flaxseeds, Vegetarian Supplements (made from flaxseed oil, algae, or hemp oil)

References

  1. https://www.foodallergy.org/resources/facts-and-statistics
  2. https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/food-allergies.html
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anaphylaxis/symptoms-causes/syc-20351468 
  4. https://www.webmd.com/allergies/milk-allergy
  5. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/milk-allergy-diet 
  6. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/dairy-substitutes#TOC_TITLE_HDR_8
  7. https://switch4good.org/best-dairy-free-cheeses/
  8. https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=90&contentid=P01684
  9. https://www.foodallergy.org/living-food-allergies/food-allergy-essentials/common-allergens/substitutions/egg-substitutions
  10. https://www.webmd.com/allergies/nut-allergy 
  11. https://www.chkd.org/patients-and-families/health-library/way-to-grow/peanut-allergy-diet/ 
  12. https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=peanut-allergy-diet-for-children-90-P01700 
  13. https://www.healthgrades.com/right-care/allergies/9-food-substitutes-for-peanut-allergy 
  14. https://foodallergycanada.ca/peanut-butter-alternatives/ 
  15. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/soybeans
  16. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/soy-allergy-diet
  17. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/soy-allergy/symptoms-causes/syc-20377802#:~:text=Soy%20allergy%20symptoms%20can%20include,runny%20nose%20or%20breathing%20difficulty
  18. https://www.thekitchn.com/miso-alternatives-glutenfree-and-soyfree-196043
  19. https://www.webmd.com/allergies/food-substitutes-soy-allergy
  20. https://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/soy-allergy-recipe-substitutions.aspx
  21. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/wheat-allergy-diet
  22. https://www.webmd.com/allergies/food-substitutes-wheat-allergy
  23. https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=tree-nut-allergy-diet-for-children-90-P01710
  24. https://foodallergycanada.ca/allergies/tree-nuts/ 
  25. https://www.thespruceeats.com/baked-goods-nut-substitutes-1388892
  26. https://www.foodallergy.org/living-food-allergies/food-allergy-essentials/common-allergens/fish
  27. https://www.verywellhealth.com/shellfish-allergy-diet-foods-to-avoid-1324478
  28. https://www.verywellfit.com/5-fish-sauce-substitutes-for-cooking-5206991
  29. https://www.verywellhealth.com/fish-allergy-and-omega-3-supplements-1324477