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Raising Peanut Allergy Awareness on National Peanut Day

Many of us take so many foods for granted when it comes to enjoying meals, desserts, and snacks. National Peanut Day reminds us that life is very different for those with a peanut allergy, particularly when exploring different foods. Like many other allergies, peanut allergy symptoms exist on a scale from mild to severe. Regardless of where you fall on that scale, you should still pursue allergy testing to know if you are allergic to peanuts rather than tree nuts or something else that could be causing your allergy symptoms. Curious to know more about peanut allergies? Read on!

Are peanut allergies common?

Peanut allergies are common in children, though peanut allergies can last a lifetime. Recently, diagnoses of peanut allergies have increased. About 1 in 50 UK children are diagnosed with peanut allergies.

Did you know this peanut allergy fact

This is part of why allergy testing is vital to a healthy profile, particularly for young ones. It helps parents and GPs to get accurate information on what is safe for little ones. It’s also common to do another allergy test in later years to see if they have outgrown their allergies with time.

What kind of peanut allergy symptoms are possible?

Many assume that peanut allergy symptoms are always severe, anaphylactic reactions. If their child doesn’t have that kind of reaction to peanuts, then they are safe. Yet, peanut allergies can have a spectrum of reactions. This includes mild, moderate, and severe.

Mild peanut allergy symptoms

There are a variety of mild symptoms, but the most common ones are having a runny nose, sneezing, coughing, and generally feeling sick. Some will also feel that they have an upset stomach or nauseous. These can happen immediately or hours after eating the peanut product.

Moderate peanut allergy symptoms

Right in the middle of the scale, moderate symptoms can also vary in how they present. The most common ones include pain in the face, headaches, or having an itchy, raised rash. Some have hives instead of a rash, but most allergists would consider that a severe reaction. Another moderate allergic reaction is diarrhoea, which can vary in strength.

Severe peanut allergy symptoms

Many are already aware of severe peanut allergy symptoms, but it’s still important to recognise them. The most common symptom people feel is swelling in the face. This includes the face and eyelids. Others will notice swelling in their mouth and throat and a sense of breathlessness.

A severe reaction is different from anaphylaxis, but not by a lot. If someone has a severe reaction to peanuts, it’s a good idea to call 999 or go to a medical emergency centre near you.

Mild, moderate, and severe allergies also have corresponding reaction strengths. The mild reactions can be easy to overlook, while the severe reactions will feel almost impossible to ignore. But even mild allergic reactions should be taken seriously.

What to do if you suspect you have a peanut allergy

If any of this sounds familiar, you can do quite a few things to keep your safety in check and still enjoy food the same as everyone else.

Get tested

The first thing to do is get allergy testing. You will want to ensure that you are reacting to peanuts instead of something else in the food that you are eating. It’s a waste of your time and energy to avoid peanuts if they aren’t the problem, right?

Avoid peanut products

This is going to sound obvious, but it is crucial. An allergy is a serious health condition because it involves the immune system. Even if your symptoms are mild, allergies stress your body, and deliberately eating something you are allergic to is never a good idea.

Read the ingredients

In every aisle of your grocery market, you’ll want to get used to checking the ingredients for peanuts or possible cross-contamination with peanuts. Potential cross-contamination is especially important if you have severe or anaphylactic reactions,

Check with servers at restaurants

When you go to restaurants, inform staff about your peanut allergy and ask them what products are safe for you to eat. Many restaurants are prepared for allergen-free cooking for major allergens (such as shellfish and peanuts). If they can’t give you information that can satisfy your needs, ask to talk to the chef or other food preparers to know for sure. Your health is worth it!

Be aware of “hidden” sources

Peanuts can “hide” in all sorts of foods. This is very common in packaged foods that are mass-produced. It also happens often in baked goods since extracts and peanut butter are common ingredients in many healthy recipes. Ensure you know exactly what is in the foods you’re eating.

On the same note, consider a DIY approach to baking since that can be a fun way to enjoy all the same foods everyone else gets, but make them allergy-friendly! There are many resources online to help you make just about anything you can think of.

National Peanut Day is a great way to enjoy peanut products, the next time you catch yourself in the grocery market, consider looking at the ingredients on the product you are buying to see if they contain peanuts. But remember it’s also the perfect opportunity to get familiar with peanut allergies and their different types of reactions with an Allergy Test.

Oat Allergy Guide

Oat allergy has recently struck the headlines because of the rise in gluten sensitivity. Gluten is a protein found in wheat and other grains. Since oats and similar grains are processed and packaged in the factories or warehouses as these grains with gluten, cross-contamination occurs, which results in symptoms upon eating oats or oat products like oat milk. However, oat allergy is also a common occurrence not linked to cross-contamination of grains—oat allergy or oat milk allergy results in the presence of a protein avenin found in oats. When people allergic to oats get this protein into their bodies, the immune system releases antibodies and histamine because it assumes it needs to protect the body from a virus or bacteria. When the immune system releases these compounds, it causes oat allergy symptoms.

Besides oat allergy, some people experience gastric discomfort due to their sensitivity to high-fibre foods. Some also experience gastrointestinal symptoms due to their sensitivity to oats. Oat allergies aren’t as common as nut and tree nut allergies, but they still affect many people, including children. That’s why we’ve created this oat allergy guide so you can learn more about the symptoms, treatment and foods to avoid.

Oat allergy symptoms

Symptoms of oat allergy vary from one individual to the next. They can be either mild, moderate, or severe. Most of these symptoms occur within two hours of contact with oats. Severe cases happen rarely, and they can be life-threatening. The common oat allergy symptoms include:

A man sneezing
A man sneezing.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Anaphylaxis.
  • Blotchy, irritated, itchy skin.
  • Itchy eyes.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Oat allergy rash.
  • Diarrhoea.
  • Rash or skin irritation on and in the mouth.
  • Scratchy throat.
  • Runny nose or nasal congestion.
  • Stomach pain.
  • Oat allergy eczema.

If someone close to or around you experiences a severe reaction like anaphylaxis, you need to call urgent care like 999 or rush them to the emergency room to get treatment. Anyone who experiences anaphylaxis should have an EpiPen to carry all the time in case of emergencies. Even if you use an EpiPen, you still need to visit a hospital for observation because these oat allergy symptoms could come back after a few hours. Symptoms such as allergic contact dermatitis may not show up immediately but have a delayed reaction, which may happen between a few hours to three days later.

Oat allergy in children

Often, children experience food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES). This condition affects the intestinal tract causing symptoms like diarrhoea, vomiting, poor growth, and dehydration. When a child with FPIES remains untreated for a prolonged time, they could end up with lethargy and starvation. Children with oat allergies may also suffer with skin-based symptoms. A study on children with atopic dermatitis found that children and infants had a skin reaction to topical products containing oats {1}. So, if your child suffers from atopic dermatitis, it is best to avoid creams, lotions, and any topical products containing oats since they will be allergic to them. Adults also suffer from skin reactions after using products with oats when they have an oat sensitivity or oat allergy.

Many skincare products, especially children’s, are loaded with wheat, oats, and other allergy triggers that can cause a reaction when used by a child with an oat allergy. A study on children’s products found that out of 276 different skincare products, more than a third of them listed contain food-related allergens as an ingredient. Of the 156 ingredients found, there were ingredients like almonds, milk, eggs, and peanuts which are major food allergens. Oats were listed as an ingredient in 8.3% of the products studied {2}. Therefore, if your child suffers from an oat allergy you should be mindful of products in skincare.

When looking for skincare products to treat dry or irritated skin, it’s most likely that the said topical product will be loaded with oat proteins. Oats are mainly used to treat dry, irritated skin. In topical products, you might find the oat ingredients listed as colloidal or finely milled oatmeal. Adults and children alike experience skin reactions upon using topical products loaded with oats. If you’re allergic to oats, you might also react to barley since both grains contain the same protein as oats (avenin).

Oat allergy treatment

When you have oat allergy symptoms, there are medications to help you feel better when you’re suffering. If you suffer from skin reactions from oat allergies, such as an oat allergy rash or oat allergy eczema, creams such as topical corticosteroids help reduce such symptoms. On the other hand, over-the-counter antihistamines can help reduce other moderate or mild symptoms of oat allergy. But if one suffers from anaphylaxis, it is essential to call 999 or emergency medical help because the consequences are serious. If you already have an EpiPen, you should use it or have someone inject you.

Oat allergy foods to avoid

People with severe oat allergies can experience symptoms by touching or inhaling oats. However, others get symptoms simply through ingestion. Here are some foods that often contain oats:

  • Granola and granola bars.
  • Porridge.
  • Oatmeal.
  • Oatmeal bath.
  • Oatmeal lotion.
  • Muesli.
  • Oatmeal cookies.
  • Beer.
  • Oatcake.
  • Oat milk.
  • Horse feed containing oat, such as oat hay.

Oat allergy testing

basic allergy test
Basic Allergy Test.

Once you realise that you may have oat allergy symptoms, you need to see a doctor, especially if it’s your child with the issue. The doctor will check for any underlying illnesses causing the symptoms. If none are found, then you may be suffering from an oat allergy. However, food allergies are hard to pin down since we consume so many potential allergens daily in our meals.

To narrow down what could be causing your symptoms, you can take a home-to-lab Allergy Test. This allergy test will use your sample to check for the most common allergens in your food, drinks, and environment. After a week, you’ll receive an email with your results clearly stating foods or allergens in your environment that you should avoid if you don’t want to suffer from allergy symptoms. If you’re also unsure whether you’re suffering from an oat intolerance rather than an allergy, our Intolerance Test analyses your sample against oat. 

How to manage oat allergy

The easiest way to manage oat allergies is by avoiding foods that you think may contain oats. Even when picking grains at the grocery store, ensure that the package clearly states that they haven’t been processed in the same place as oats. Such information will help prevent accidents that could lead to oat allergy symptoms. You should also ensure wherever you’re dining, whether out or with a friend, that you tell them of your allergies to prevent these allergy reactions. If you have gluten intolerance and you’re reacting to oats, you might be having this reaction because of cross-contamination. You need to ensure that all your oats don’t contain any cross-contamination. If you’re unsure of what’s causing your uncomfortable symptoms, our recommendation is to take a simple home Complete Body Test, which looks for both allergies and intolerances.


  1. Boussault, P., Léauté-Labrèze, C., Saubusse, E., Maurice-Tison, S., Perromat, M., Roul, S., Sarrat, A., Taïeb, A., & Boralevi, F. (2007). Oat sensitization in children with atopic dermatitis: prevalence, risks and associated factors. Allergy, 62(11), 1251–1256.
  2. Adomaite, I., Vitkuviene, A., Petraitiene, S., & Rudzeviciene, O. (2020). Food allergens in skincare products marketed for children. Contact Dermatitis, 83(4), 271-276.

Sugar Allergy Guide

Sugar is found in fruits and vegetables and added to various foods to make them sweeter. You can also find it in milk, desserts, and condiments. When you have a sugar allergy, it can be tricky to avoid it, considering you’re likely to consume dairy, desserts, fruits, pastries, or even ice cream regularly. Sugar is also common in food products that you might not even know contain it – condiments like salad dressings, ketchup, sports drinks, and other bottled sauces. Glucose, a type of sugar, is essential to the body as it fuels the body’s cells and provides energy.

Sugar is a carbohydrate and is found in several forms, which include:

  • Maltose is formed when two glucose molecules are joined together, and it primarily occurs in grains like malt.
  • Fructose is a sugar naturally found in fruits, high-carbohydrate vegetables, and honey.
  • Sucrose, also known as “table sugar,” is a combination of glucose and fructose, and it comes from plants like sugarcane and beets.
  • Xylose comes from wood or straw and undergoes an enzymatic process to convert it to the sugar substitute we know as xylitol.
  • Glucose is a crucial energy source for the body and requires insulin.
  • Galactose is a sugar present in dairy products.
  • Lactose, a sugar found in dairy products, comprises glucose and galactose.

Can you be allergic to sugar?

If you feel lethargic or have a painful stomach after eating sugar, it could mean you’re allergic to sugar. Sometimes this feeling comes on after you’ve eaten a lot of sugar because your blood sugar spikes and then crashes and burns, leading to a “sugar hangover.” While having a sugar allergy is rare, it still happens {1}. A sugar allergy differs from a high sugar intake because it causes sugar allergy symptoms. It doesn’t take a certain amount of sugar for your immune system to react when you have a sugar allergy, you will experience symptoms after consuming a small amount.

If you have a sugar allergy, the first time you ingest the allergen your body forms an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE). So, the second time you eat the same allergen, your immune system sets off alarm bells and releases certain compounds, including histamines which end up causing sugar allergy symptoms. It doesn’t matter the amount of sugar you consume; the symptoms will be the same.

A more common reaction to sugar is sugar intolerance. A sugar intolerance occurs when your body doesn’t have enzymes to break down certain foods in your digestive system. It can also be due to particular sensitivities to specific foods’ chemicals, additives, or compounds. When suffering from sugar intolerance, you may be able to consume a certain amount of sugar and not get symptoms. The symptoms only occur when you consume more sugar than your body can break down, resulting in gastric symptoms because of fermentation in the large intestines. You can read more about the difference between an allergy and intolerance on our dedicated page.

Sugar allergy symptoms

Sugar allergy symptoms vary from one person to the next. Some people experience mild to moderate symptoms, which can be cured with over-the-counter medication. These symptoms of sugar allergy occur within two hours of consumption. They include:

A woman holding her stomach
A woman holding her stomach.
  • Redness of the skin.
  • Rashes or hives.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Clogged sinuses.
  • Headaches.
  • Stuffy or a runny nose.
  • Stomach cramps.

In rare cases, some people experience severe symptoms of food allergies (anaphylaxis). When one experiences anaphylaxis, there is an urgent need for medical care because if you wait too long, you may go into anaphylactic shock or even die. These symptoms include:

  • Loss of consciousness.
  • A substantial decrease in blood pressure due to the onset of shock.
  • A fast heart rate.
  • A tightening or constriction of a person’s airway.
  • A swelling or closing of the throat makes breathing problematic.

Sugar allergy in children

If you notice that your baby isn’t feeling well every time you offer them something containing sugar, it could be because they have a sugar allergy. It can be hard to notice this in young children because they can’t speak for themselves, so it is up to you, as the caregiver, to gauge when they may have a food allergy. If you notice symptoms such as a runny nose, headache, stomach upset, or cramping in your child every time they consume sugar, it could be a sign that they have a sugar intolerance rather than being allergic to sugar.

However, suppose you notice your child suffering from symptoms like hives, vomiting, skin rash, or itchiness after consuming foods with sugar. In that case, they could suffer from mild sugar allergy symptoms. In severe cases, there may be symptoms like shortness of breath, wheezing, and loss of consciousness. These serious symptoms mean your baby needs to see a doctor with immediate effect. If you feel like your child could be suffering from any of these reactions every time you give them some sugary food or fruit, then you need to discuss this with your doctor so they can advise appropriately.

Difference between sugar allergy and intolerance

Sugar intolerance, unlike sugar allergy, doesn’t involve the immune system. Instead, an intolerance is caused by the body having difficulty digesting or processing sugar. Sugar intolerance is more common than sugar allergy and you’ll find that people suffer from different types of sugar intolerances. For example, people who can’t digest the sugar in milk (lactose) have lactose intolerance. While a sugar allergy involves the body’s IgE, sugar intolerance causes mishaps in the gastrointestinal tract. When the body lacks enzymes to digest certain sugars, it sends undigested sugar into the large intestines. Here it causes fermentation resulting in symptoms like bloating, diarrhoea, and gassiness, among other symptoms.

When it comes to sugar allergy, it doesn’t matter the amount of sugar one consumes, they will experience common sugar allergy symptoms if they have sugar allergies. However, regarding sugar intolerance, the amount of sugar one consumes matters. Everyone with sugar intolerance has a specific limit of sugar that they can consume without getting intolerance symptoms. However, if you need to know your amount, you can cut off sugar from your diet for about four weeks and then reintroduce it in small amounts while keeping a record through an elimination diet. You can do this after consulting your doctor so they can help you do it safely. If you have sugar intolerance, you’re most likely to be intolerant to fructose, lactose, or both, since these are the main culprits {2}.

Sugar allergy testing

basic allergy test
Basic Allergy Test.

If you notice that you suffer from symptoms every time you consume sugar, it may be because you have an allergy to sugar. However, considering sugar is often a hidden ingredient within many foods, it may be beneficial to rule out the common food allergens as causes first. To do this, you can order an Allergy Test which tests for the most common 38 food and inhalant allergies.You’ll then get a list of allergens you need to avoid. Having surety over how to handle your diet will help you figure out better ways to manage your allergies. When you think you may have specific allergies and intolerances, it leads to avoiding these foods. Therefore, being sure of these allergies will help you to handle them better. You’ll now be in control of your diet, preventing accidental allergen exposure that may result in allergy symptoms.

Allergy to sugar substitutes

Since you need to avoid sugar, you can still use these substitutes to sweeten your food and drinks without bringing up sugar allergy symptoms. These include:

  • Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet).
  • Sucralose (Splenda).
  • Stevia.
  • Saccharin (Sweet’N Low).

You may have to avoid foods containing sugar, including sweeteners like honey, juice, molasses, and agave. If lactose intolerant, you must avoid any foods containing dairy or dairy byproducts. Alternatively, you can purchase over-the-counter lactase tablets to help digest dairy products’ sugar.

Final thoughts on sugar allergy

If you experience allergy symptoms but you’re unsure what’s causing them, we recommend you take an Allergy Test to help you determine the type of foods you need to cut off from your diet. Once you get your list, you can consult with a nutritionist on the best way to go forward and cut off the sugar or other food from your diet. Once you’ve adjusted your diet, you will be able to continue living life without experiencing uncomfortable symptoms.


  1. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. (
  2. Latulippe, M. E., & Skoog, S. M. (2011). Fructose malabsorption and intolerance: effects of fructose with and without simultaneous glucose ingestion. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 51(7), 583-592.

Soy Allergy Guide

Soy is a common ingredient in many processed foods, as well as commonly found in baby formula. For many people, ingesting soy is harmless and a good protein source, especially for plant-based diets. Soy allergy occurs when your body reacts to soy protein. If you ingest or drink soy and you’re allergic to it, your immune system views the soy protein as “harmful,” which leads to the production of antibodies like histamine, to generate soy allergy symptoms. Soy allergy can sometimes be very severe, leading to a life-threatening condition called anaphylaxis. Soy allergy is observed in children as young as under three years old, though they may outgrow the allergy later on {1}. Even though kids have a higher risk of developing soy allergy, it is common for adults to develop it, especially if they already have preexisting food allergies.

Soybeans are a part of the legume family which also includes foods like lentils, peas, kidney beans, and peanuts. Immature soybeans are also known as edamame.  Although most people know soy as soy milk or in tofu, it is also present in some processed foods that you may not suspect. Of all the food allergies, soy is one of the most challenging items to avoid as it is  present in many processed foods, condiments, and other products. Soy is among the top food allergens affecting people all around the world.

Soy allergy symptoms

Soy allergy symptoms appear within minutes to a few hours after contact or consumption. These symptoms vary from one person to the next, ranging from mild to severe. Common soy allergy symptoms include:

Woman with itchy and red neck
A woman with an itchy neck
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Red skin.
  • Diarrhoea.
  • Runny nose, wheezing, or trouble breathing.
  • Itchy mouth.
  • Hives and soy allergy rash.
  • Itching and swelling.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Anaphylaxis (difficulty breathing, increased heart rate, drop in blood pressure, dizziness, and confusion).
  • Swelling of lips, mouth, or other body parts.

When one experiences severe symptoms like wheezing, trouble breathing, or anaphylaxis, you should contact emergency care or rush to the emergency room. Anaphylaxis is a severe condition that could result in shock, coma, or even death. It is, however, a rare case. If you have severe soy allergy symptoms, you should always have an EpiPen to carry at all times, which you’ll administer in case you accidentally consume soy.

You’ll know that you are not experiencing a soy intolerance if you experience less severe, mostly digestive symptoms. If you’re unsure whether you have a soy allergy or soy intolerance, you can take a Complete Body Test which analyses your blood sample for both soy allergy and intolerance.

Foods containing soy

Soy products come in various forms, and you need to know these multiple forms to identify soy ingredients and products to avoid.

Soy lecithin

Soy lecithin is a non-toxic food additive. It is used as an ingredient in foods that require a natural emulsifier. For example, soy lecithin helps control sugar crystallisation when used in chocolates. In some other products, it helps improve their shelf life. Soy lecithin can also be used to prevent or reduce splattering when frying some foods. Even though soy lecithin comes from soy, many people with soy allergy can tolerate it because it doesn’t contain any of the proteins that those with soy allergy react to. Soy lecithin allergy is separate from a soy allergy.

Soy sauce

Soy sauce contains both soy and wheat, making it hard to decipher whether you’re suffering from a wheat allergy or soy allergy. In such cases, getting an Allergy Test is the best choice to get to the bottom of the issue. If you find out that you have a wheat allergy, you can use tamari sauce instead of soy sauce, since tamari sauce is similar to soy sauce but without wheat.

Soy milk

Approximately 15% of infants with cow milk allergy also suffer from soy milk allergy {2}. When your baby has these allergies, it is best to settle for hydrolyzed formulas that ensure that the proteins have been broken down and are less likely to cause an allergic reaction. In all elemental formulas, the proteins have been broken down to an extent with a very low probability of causing an allergic reaction.

Soybean oil

This oil doesn’t contain any soy proteins. It’s safe for those with soy allergies to consume it. However, you need to speak with your doctor beforehand, especially if you suffer from severe reactions to soy.

How to test for soy allergy at home

Our Basic Allergy Test

Testing for soy allergy is quite simple, and it’s not something you need to go to the doctor’s office to get. If your doctor agrees that you don’t have any underlying conditions that could be causing soy allergy symptoms, then you should take a home-lab Allergy Test. This test doesn’t require you to leave the comfort of your home or visit the doctor’s office. All you’ll need to do is place your order for the allergy test, which you’ll receive around three days after the order, then carefully take your sample and send it back to the labs. Your sample will thoroughly be examined by scientists in the lab for any allergies that could affect you, either from your food, environment, or drinks. You’ll then get an email with your results telling you which foods you need to avoid because of specific allergies you have.

Soy allergy treatment

The most effective treatment for soy allergy is the avoidance of soy. Whether it’s in processed food or the grain itself, it doesn’t matter. You’ll need to be careful to stay symptom-free. If you have a soy allergy, you need to get familiar with ingredients in every processed food so you’d know what to avoid. Always ask the manufacturer questions if you’re unsure if it contains soy proteins, and they’ll be more than willing to answer you. When eating out, inform the host or chefs of your allergy to avoid accidental consumption of this legume.

When being careful not to experience soy allergy symptoms, you must look for soy products or ingredients in non-food items (like candles, synthetic fabric, makeup, and others) and shared equipment. You will often find items made on the same surface as soy, increasing the chances of cross-contamination. So many foods and drinks also contain soy, and your ingredient-reading ability will save you from soy allergy symptoms.

Soy allergy foods to avoid

Since many foods and drinks contain soy, here are some that you must avoid:

  • Soy in all forms, including soy flour, soy fibre, soy albumin, and soy grits.
  • Soybean (curd and granules).
  • Soy protein (concentrate, isolate, and hydrolyzed).
  • Soy non-dairy alternatives, including soy milk, soy ice cream, soy cheese, and soy yoghurt.
  • Soy nuts and soy sprouts.
  • Soy sauce.
  • Tofu and textured vegetable protein (TVP).
  • Natto.
  • Tempeh.
  • Tamari.
  • Edamame.
  • Miso.
  • Hoisin.

Some foods that could contain soy include:

  • Low-fat peanut butter.
  • Meat substitutes.
  • Baked goods (bread, cookies, and crackers).
  • Cereals.
  • Frozen dinners.
  • High-protein energy bars and snacks.
  • Ice cream.
  • Infant formula, baby foods, and cereals.
  • Processed meats, like deli meats.
  • Canned broth and soup.
  • Canned tuna and meat.
  • Salad dressings, mayonnaise, gravy, and sauces.
  • Vegetable oil.

Not all soy ingredients use the name “soy,” so you can find soy products labelled as:

  • Glycine max.
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG)Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP).
  • Mono-diglyceride.

Final thoughts on soy allergy

Living with a food allergy can be difficult, especially when it’s a common ingredient in a lot of packaged foods and products. You can use the above list to give an idea of where you’ll start looking once you’ve taken your allergy test and confirmed that you’re indeed allergic to soy. Whenever you doubt an ingredient, you can either not buy it or call the manufacturers, and they’ll be more than willing to help you. Once you know which foods to avoid, you can take control of your diet and never suffer from soy allergy symptoms again.


  1. American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Soy. (
  2. Candreva, A. M., Smaldini, P. L., Curciarello, R., Cauerhff, A., Fossati, C. A., Docena, G. H., & Petruccelli, S. (2015). Cross-reactivity between the soybean protein p34 and bovine caseins. Allergy, asthma & immunology research, 7(1), 60–68.

Food Allergy Laws in Restaurants in the UK

There is no sincere love than the love of food


Cooking food is an art, and the cornerstone of great cooking is the art of preparation, serving, and presentation of food. Cooking food, similar to processing and formulation, is a complex phenomenon that is difficult to predict. The simplest treatment, such as heating, can alter the structure and allergenic activity of food allergens. Food allergies affect an estimated 2 million adults in the UK, not including all of the people suffering from food intolerances too. Around 44% of adults in Britain are currently suffering from at least one allergy, with almost half of allergy sufferers experiencing more than one allergy {1}.

According to the NHS, food allergy is an immune system response that can be either an IgE-mediated or non-IgE-mediated food allergy. In rare cases, there can be a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), which can be life-threatening. Because of the serious impacts of a food allergy, eating in a restaurant can be daunting for those who have allergies. With previous incidents of allergic reactions in the UK, food labelling on pre-packaged items has seen an improvement, but what about restaurants? Within this article we will discuss current laws in the UK and what this means for you when you are eating out.

Natasha’s Law

Natasha’s Law came into effect on the 1st October 2021 and benefits the millions of people living with allergies in the UK. Natasha Ednan-Laperouse had a fatal allergic reaction in 2016 after purchasing a pre-packed baguette which did not have the ingredients listed on it. Natasha’s family have since campaigned to introduce clearer allergen labelling on foods. As a result, Natasha’s law ensures that all pre-packed for direct sale (PPDS) food items in the UK must have a full list of ingredients, with the 14 major allergens emphasised in the list.

The 14 Common Allergens

The Food Standards Agency has listed these 14 common allergens that must be mentioned clearly on packaged products. These include:

14 Common Allergens. Celery, Cereals containing gluten (wheat, barley, oats), Crustaceans (prawns, crabs and lobsters), Lupin, Milk, Molluscs, Mustard, Peanut, Sesame, Soybeansm Sulphur Dioxide, Sulphites (greater than  10 parts per million) and tree nuts such as: almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, cashews, pistachios, macadamia nuts.

Who enforces allergy regulations?

The Food Standards Agency is responsible for providing the framework in which local authorities operate. With food businesses, local authorities enforce these regulations around allergen information. This means if businesses fail to comply, the local authority can take action by giving advice, issuing an improvement notice, then finally issuing a penalty.

What are the allergy laws in restaurants?

Despite Natasha’s Law being a positive step for pre-packaged foods, there is still a lack of regulation in restaurants. A third of allergy sufferers state that they have experienced an allergic reaction while eating at a restaurant. Research has found that some of these allergic reactions still occurred after conveying the allergy to staff {2}. However, the law is not as strict for these types of food businesses compared to pre-packed food.

Restaurants must provide allergen information in writing, with full allergen information provided on either a menu, chalkboard or in an information pack. If the allergens are not clear on the menu, a written notice should be available to explain to customers how to find out allergy information. Nevertheless, this legislation puts the emphasis on the consumer being responsible for requesting extra information rather than it always being visible for all customers. Because of this, customers could face the danger of waiters not fully understanding allergies or making mistakes with allergen information. The risks of this are clear, and became a reality for Owen Carey.

Owen was used to ordering foods to fit his restricted diet from allergies, but at a restaurant without information available on the menu he had to trust his waiter. After explaining his allergies to the server, Owen was assured that his burger was plain, yet unbeknownst to him, it had been marinated in buttermilk. This simple mistake cost Owen his life, and has sparked the call for change around restaurant allergen information.

Owen’s Law

The Owen’s Law petition hopes to improve the way allergy information is provided in restaurants in the UK. It is argued that to prevent further deaths from allergies, all restaurants should state allergens in their dishes on the face of the main menu. The Food Standards Agency supports the campaign’s call for greater training for restaurant staff so they understand their responsibilities when it comes to allergies. Owen’s family continue to fight for this law to become accepted in the UK. In the meantime, you can read our tips for feeling confident when eating at a restaurant with food sensitivities.

How Food Businesses Can Help

All establishments serving food can ensure that allergic reactions are avoided by taking specific steps to decrease the likelihood of incidents. This involves the following steps that can prevent such allergic reactions in restaurants:

  • Display the ingredient lists.
  • Provide recipes for the menu items.
  • Train staff comprehensively on food allergies.
  • Use separate utensils and areas when cooking and preparing meals for customers with food allergies, if possible, to prevent cross-contamination. If there isn’t enough space, wiping down the surfaces thoroughly would help.
  • Have a special plan for serving guests with special dietary needs.

Restaurants and environmental health programs have the ability to work together and reduce the risk of customer food allergic reactions in their restaurant.

Allergy Friendly Restaurants

At Lifelab Testing, we want all allergy sufferers to feel confident when eating in restaurants. That’s why we’ve created a tool for exploring allergy friendly restaurants near you.

Final thoughts

Our Complete Body Test

To eat out in restaurants and not experience allergy or intolerance symptoms, you firstly need to know your body. To do this, a Complete Body Test will analyse your body’s reaction to 38 allergens and 79 intolerances. With this knowledge in hand, you can avoid food items which cause your symptoms. When eating in restaurants, this information will be essential in choosing which dish you want to eat. Take control of your own food journey with Allergy or Intolerance Test from Lifelab Testing.


  1. Mintel’s Allergy and Allergy Remedies UK 2010. Foods Matter. (
  2. Oriel RC, Waqar O, Sharma HP, Casale TB, Wang J. Characteristics of Food Allergic Reactions in United States Restaurants. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2021 Apr;9(4):1675-1682. doi: 10.1016/j.jaip.2020.12.018. Epub 2020 Dec 15. PMID: 33338685. (

Potato Allergy Guide

Potatoes are a staple in the western diet, found in snacks, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They can merge easily into any meal of the day. Compared to nuts and other types of allergies, potatoes are a lesser-known type of allergy affecting fewer adults and children. However, it can be severe to the extent of being life-threatening in some people. Avoiding potatoes when you’re suffering from potato allergy can be quite a task, as potato derivatives are used in most packaged foods and snacks. We’ll explore what it means to have a potato allergy, including symptoms, cross-reactivity and how to complete an allergy test.

What is a potato allergy?

A potato allergy, just like all food allergies, occurs when the body mistakes certain compounds for “harmful” substances similar to bacteria and viruses. So, upon consuming potatoes, your immune system gets alerted that these compounds or proteins are in the body, thus releasing antibodies and histamines to fight them. When antibodies and histamines are released due to an allergic reaction, they result in the typical allergy symptoms we observe when someone’s allergic to something they’ve consumed. An allergic reaction occurs when the body is susceptible to a chemical sensitivity or when the immune system reacts to proteins present in the food you’ve consumed. In the case of potato allergy, two main culprits are the primary triggers for potato allergy symptoms. These are patatin and solanine:

  • Solanine: This compound is a semi-poisonous toxic alkaloid, and the plant produces this as a defence mechanism against animal predators. Solanine is commonly present in most potato varieties and other agricultural nightshades. It is safe to consume solanine in moderation except when consumed as “green potatoes”, which are often a result of improper storage and are often full of toxins. While solanine poisoning often dwells in the gastrointestinal tract, some people can experience severe reactions (allergy) to potatoes and other nightshades.
  • Patatin: This storage protein is present in potato varieties and is the most common cause of potato allergy. While solanine can also cause potato allergy, multiple studies tag patatin as the most common cause of potato allergy. It mainly triggers potato skin allergy symptoms like rashes, hives, eczema, dermatitis, and other skin conditions.

Potato allergy symptoms

Potato allergy symptoms vary in severity between different individuals. While some people may experience mild symptoms, others must visit the emergency room. These allergy symptoms can take between forty-five minutes to an hour after consumption or contact. One can have symptoms of potato allergy by peeling, touching, or eating potatoes. Common potato allergy symptoms include:

A man sneezing
A man sneezing.
  • Sneezing.
  • Sore or scratchy throat.
  • Itchy skin or an eczema-like rash.
  • Runny nose.
  • Watery, swollen, or itchy eyes.
  • Hives.
  • Swelling of the mouth, tongue, or throat.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Tingling on the lips.
  • Diarrhoea.
  • A drop in blood pressure.
  • Anaphylaxis.
  • Rapid heartbeat.
  • Wheezing.
  • Vomiting.

According to a 2017 study on potato allergy, of 2000 people in a hospital, 10.1% were sensitised to potatoes {1}. Many of them were only allergic to raw potatoes and not cooked potatoes. So, it is possible to be only allergic to raw potatoes and tolerate cooked ones.

If your symptoms are more mild, you may be experiencing potato intolerance. You can find out if you have an intolerance to potatoes by taking a simple at-home intolerance test.

Other symptoms of potato allergy

While rare, some people develop a condition known as anaphylaxis upon consuming potatoes. Anaphylaxis is a condition that has an acute onset, with symptoms appearing immediately and escalating fast. Treatment for anaphylaxis often requires the use of an EpiPen, intravenous antihistamines, and oxygen which helps lower the body’s allergic response, reduce inflammation of the air passages, and improve breathing. When one suffers from anaphylaxis, they require immediate medical care. The symptoms include:

  • Swelling of the throat, mouth, eyes, or face.
  • A rapid drop in blood pressure.
  • Dizziness or loss of consciousness.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty catching one’s breath.

Difference between potato allergy and sweet potato allergy

Even though these are both tubers and share the name “potato”, they are entirely different types of tubers. Sweet potatoes, also known as Ipomoea batatas, belong to a family of plants known as Morning Glories or Convolvulaceae. Sweet potatoes and potatoes have varying glycemic indexes and antioxidants. Even though there aren’t any cases of allergy caused by sweet potatoes in literature, there were three cases of anaphylaxis in adult patients after they consumed potatoes {2}. Scientists still don’t know the allergens present in sweet potatoes, but they don’t have the same allergens in common potatoes (patatin and solanine). However, it is possible for people to have an intolerance to sweet potatoes.

Potato allergy foods to avoid

If you have a potato allergy, it is recommended that you avoid these vegetables for the long term. Avoiding potatoes can be tricky since many processed foods contain potato-based derivatives like yeats, enriched flours, and baking powders. Even though we may not exhaust the entire list of potato derivatives, here are some things you need to look out for:

  • Potato crisps: Potato-based salty snacks are obvious products to avoid.
  • Gnocchi: Potato-based pasta, like gnocchi, should be avoided.
  • Casseroles: Like croquettes and other prepared foods that contain mysterious combinations of foods, are among the foods you need to consume cautiously.
  • Shredded cheese: Some processed and packaged cheeses contain potato starch.
  • Dried potato flakes: These are often used as a thickener for canned soups, stews, and purees.
  • Potato flour: This is a common gluten-free substitute for wheat flour. Potato flour is found in various baked goods like bread, muffins, and cookies. You’ll also find it in consumer packaged goods like crisps, crackers, gluten-free snack foods, etc.
  • Vodka: Potatoes are the main ingredient in making different types of vodka.
  • Yeast: Countless types of beer, bread, and baked goods use yeast derived from potatoes.
  • Modified potato starch: This hidden ingredient is commonly found in sweets.
  • Herbal medicines: When visiting a pharmacist, let them know of your potato allergy since potatoes are an ingredient in herbal medicine used to treat an upset stomach.

Since potatoes are common ingredients, you need to be careful when reading labels and eating out to avoid meals containing potato derivatives.

Potato allergy cross-reactivity

When different foods or non-food substances (like pollen) share similar proteins, it can make you have an allergic reaction to more than one substance or food. For example, people with a potato allergy may also experience a cross-reactive allergic reaction to certain edible foods and pollen. Potatoes are a part of the nightshade family, Solanaceae. Due to the similarity in proteins found in potatoes and these other plants, a person with potato allergy may also be allergic to other plants from the Nightshade family. Some of these plants include:

  • Goji berries.
  • Tobacco.
  • Tomatoes.
  • Eggplant.
  • Tomatillos.
  • Bell peppers.
  • Pepino melon.
  • Spices like paprika, cayenne, and red pepper flakes.

Besides the Nightshade family, people with potato allergy may experience a cross-reactive reaction to pollen, especially from birch trees and grass. Additionally, having a potato allergy may lead to a cross-reactive allergic reaction to latex. It may seem weird to have many allergies based on potato allergies. Still, it’s common for people, especially children, to develop allergies because they have an existent allergy to something else. It’s like a chain reaction, having one allergy leads to the development of more. According to Facts and Statistics, approximately 40% of children with food allergies experience responses to more than one food {3}.

Potato allergy testing

Even though potato allergy is less common compared to potato intolerance, it still is an issue that affects some people. If you believe you have an allergy, we suggest consulting with your doctor first to determine if there are any other underlying conditions that are causing your symptoms. However, if you don’t have any conditions causing these symptoms, you can take an Allergy Test. This home-lab test kit will check your sample against all of the common allergens in the environment as well as food. You will then get a list of foods that you’re allergic to and you can begin to change your life for the better.


  1. Chiriac, A. M., Bourrain, J. L., Lepicard, E., Molinari, N., & Demoly, P. (2017). Prevalence of sensitization and allergy to potato in a large population. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, 5(2), 507-509.
  2. Velloso, A., Baeza, M., Tornero, P., Herrero, T., Fernández, M., Rubio, M., & De Barrio, M. (2004). Anaphylaxis caused by Ipomoea batatas. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 113(2), S242.

Strawberry Allergy Guide

Strawberries are among the most consumed fruits around the globe, especially in Summer. When it’s warm weather in the UK, there’s nothing better than eating strawberries with your picnic, with cream watching Wimbledon or in your eton mess dessert. Because of this, there are even periods when strawberry sales outsell household staples like bread and milk.

These delicious fruits also have a myriad of benefits for the body. They’re packed with more vitamin C by weight compared to oranges. They can help regulate blood pressure, boost immunity and even prevent wrinkles. The red colour that strawberries possess is due to the presence of various flavonoids, which are suitable for reducing cholesterol levels. Strawberries are a great snack that is low in calories hence why most people love them. One hundred grams of strawberries only packs 50 calories.

Despite many people loving strawberries, some individuals can experience a negative reaction to strawberries, which can either be an intolerance or an allergy. Strawberry Allergy, even though uncommon, still affects some people. This issue occurs when the immune system mistakes the proteins in strawberries for harmful substances. This leads to the production of histamines and antibodies, leading to allergy reactions which we term strawberry allergy symptoms.

The main compound that causes strawberry allergy is Fragaria allergen 1 (fra a1). This protein is responsible for the reddening of strawberries when they ripen. Other rare strawberry varieties don’t turn red when they ripen, and these lack this compound, hence don’t cause allergic reactions {1}. However, these strawberry varieties aren’t easy to purchase because of their rarity compared to white strawberries.

Strawberry allergy symptoms

The symptoms of strawberry allergy vary from mild to severe, depending on the person. Most people experience mild to moderate symptoms. However, it’s possible to encounter more severe, life-threatening symptoms. The most common strawberry allergy symptoms include:

  • Itching and inflammation of the throat and mouth.
  • A feeling of tightness in the throat.
  • Congestion.
  • Itchy skin.
  • Coughing and wheezing.
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness.
  • Diarrhoea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Hives.

There are different types of reactions that one can have when they’re allergic to strawberries, these include:

Oral allergy syndrome with strawberries

Woman with itchy and red neck
A woman with an itchy neck

Strawberries contain allergens that trigger symptoms in people suffering from oral allergy syndrome (OAS). OAS includes symptoms such as itching, swelling and tingling in the mouth or throat. The treatment for this is heating the fruit, since the proteins change when a food is heated, or simply avoiding it. To avoid having OAS symptoms when eating strawberries, you’ll need to avoid fruits in the Rosaceae family, as they contain similar proteins to those in strawberries. Therefore, you’ll need to avoid peaches, apples, cherries, pears, and other fruits in the Rosaceae family. These OAS symptoms often appear 5-15 minutes after consuming raw fruits. The symptoms are always mild, affecting the throat and mouth and causing inflammation.

Mucosal irritation

Strawberries can cause various reactions, including mucosal irritation due to acidic pH. In some cases, merely touching strawberries can result in allergic contact dermatitis.


Anaphylaxis is caused by IgE mast cell degranulation. Symptoms include hives, swelling, wheezing, coughing, vomiting, diarrhoea and low blood pressure. If you notice someone having these symptoms, it’s best to call 911 as they need immediate medical attention since this is a dire condition.

Symptoms of strawberry allergy that are mild are often treated with OTC medication. In instances of anaphylaxis, an EpiPen is used to reduce the symptoms. However, in such severe cases, one must stay under the doctor’s watch for a few hours to ensure they’re treated if the symptoms come back, which they can after a few hours.

How long does an allergic reaction to strawberries last?

On a short-term basis, some strawberry allergy symptoms take a week to disappear, mainly if they’ve caused reactions on the skin (like hives from strawberries). In contrast, other symptoms can leave quickly if you take antihistamines, but the time it takes depends on the severity of the symptoms. Sometimes strawberry allergic reactions reoccur a few hours later, and that’s why it’s beneficial to stay under the doctor’s care for observation, especially if you’ve suffered from anaphylaxis. Research looking at the prevalence of strawberry allergy in Bosnian children found that only 3-4% of the early-years group had this allergy. However, the percentage decreases to 0.5-1% in late childhood {2}.

In children, it’s hard to say how long their allergic reaction to strawberries will last since it is possible for them to outgrow allergies. However, if you’re an adult, your strawberry allergy will probably stay with you for the rest of your life, and it’s something that you’ll need to manage and learn to live with.

Risk factors of strawberry allergy

Strawberry allergy can affect anyone, but some factors increase your chances of suffering from this food allergy. If your family has a history of allergies, eczema, or asthma, you’re at a higher chance of suffering from strawberry and other common food allergies. Anyone can develop a strawberry allergy at any time, but it is more common for children to develop an allergy. Children have a higher rate of allergies than adults because their immune system is still developing. However, even though their chance of developing allergies is higher, children also tend to outgrow allergies as they get older.

It is also possible to develop specific food allergies even when you have no family history of allergies. For example, when it comes to children, delaying the introduction of allergenic foods increases the risk of developing food allergies. It is advisable to introduce allergenic foods to babies between months 5 and 7. Early introduction of these foods reduces the chances of developing reactions to them. If your little one reacts to eating any food, talk to their doctor.

Foods to avoid with strawberry allergy

While some people may consume cooked strawberries without getting any reactions, it’s better to talk to a doctor before trying this, especially if you have moderate to severe reactions to strawberries. Certain fruits have similar proteins to strawberries since they’re in the same Rosaceae family, which you’ll need to avoid. They include:

  • Apples.
  • Cherries.
  • Raspberries.
  • Peaches.
  • Blackberries.

If you suffer from strawberry allergy, you may also have an allergy to:

Complete Body Test
Complete Body Test
  • Latex.
  • Birch Pollen.
  • Bananas.
  • Some nuts, such as hazelnuts.
  • Celery.
  • Carrots.
  • Apricots.
  • Melon.

If you’re unsure which food is causing your symptoms, you might benefit from taking an Allergy Test to rule out the common allergens that could be causing you discomfort. Also, if you cannot tell whether you have an intolerance or allergy, you could order a Complete Body Test, which tests for allergies and intolerances including strawberry intolerance. Once you’re certain you have a strawberry allergy, you should avoid these fruits when they are on their own and in flavourings.

Strawberry allergy testing

It’s clear how having a strawberry allergy may lead to other allergies restricting your diet. If you have reactions every time you consume strawberries, it’s best to eliminate them from your diet and take extra care when consuming fruits within the Rosaceae family. If you’re not certain what is causing your allergy symptoms, we recommend you take a simple at home allergy test to determine the cause. Strawberry allergy and other food allergies can often affect a person’s quality of life, and that’s why it’s better to know which ones you have, so you can adjust your diet accordingly to avoid any reactions. Over-the-counter medications can help relieve your allergy symptoms when they’re mild or moderate. However, to prevent uncomfortable symptoms again, you should plan your diet accordingly to avoid these fruits.


  1. Cottingham K. (2007). Allergic to strawberries? Try a white one. (
  2. Bajraktarevic, A., Trninic, S., Penava, S., Mahinic, A., Begovic, B., Selmovic, A., … & Sporisevic, L. (2011). Prevalence of strawberry allergy in Bosnian children and management. Clinical and Translational Allergy, 1(1), 1-1.

Onion Allergy Guide

An onion allergy occurs when your body mistakes onions for harmful substances. This, in turn, triggers the immune system to release antibodies to fight the “harmful” substance, and that’s when we witness onion allergy symptoms such as itchiness, vomiting, trouble breathing, and others. Onions are a common ingredient in salads and all cooked meals. It is hard to come across a restaurant or home where onions aren’t used as a primary ingredient in making stews, curries, and stir-fries. This is why it can be challenging to manage an onion allergy.

When suffering from onion allergy, different people get affected in varying ways. For example, one may get a reaction from smelling or touching onions or consuming onions, whether raw or cooked. While some people get reactions from only smelling, touching or eating raw onions (raw onion allergy), others get the same symptoms from cooked onions. Onions are part of the genus allium, which also consists of shallots, leeks, garlic, and chives. If you’re allergic to onions, it is possible to get the same reaction with other plants in the allium family. Sometimes, it may not be an allergic reaction but rather a sensitivity. This cross-reactivity is because these plants contain similar internal makeup, which the immune system can mistake for onions, producing the same immune attack resulting in onion allergy symptoms.

Not all alliums are edible; others are ornamental (inedible) and may trigger a reaction in some people through touch. If you’re allergic to onions, this means that you’ll react to all types of onions. For example, you’ll also suffer from a red onion allergy and a spring onion allergy. There won’t be any exceptions to the types of onions you’ll react towards.

Onion allergy symptoms

A woman holding her stomach.

Symptoms of onion allergy vary from one person to the other regarding mildness and severity. Once you smell, consume or touch onions if you’re allergic, you can expect symptoms to show up immediately or within a span of two hours. There are, however, others who may not experience the allergy symptoms for a few more hours. If you’re allergic to onions, you will experience a few of these symptoms that may be internal or external. These common symptoms of onion allergy include:

  • Itching and tingling in the mouth.
  • Hives or rashes all over the body.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Swelling of lips, tongue, lips, face, or throat.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Nasal congestion.
  • Stomach pain.
  • Diarrhoea.
  • Gas.

The above symptoms often are mild and can be easily managed by home treatment. However, if you experience severe gastrointestinal issues, it is wise to visit a doctor. It is common for the symptoms to stop once the onions have left your body. In rare cases, however, onion allergy can result in life-threatening symptoms. Anaphylaxis associated with onion allergy has been reported before after consuming raw onion {1}. When one experiences anaphylaxis, there is a dire need to immediately access medical help, as this condition can easily take one’s life. There are specific symptoms you can witness that will help diagnose anaphylaxis. These are:

  • Confusion.
  • Dizziness.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Low blood pressure.
  • Loss of consciousness or fainting.
  • Sweating.

Upon getting urgent care, a doctor will prescribe an Epinephrine pen (EpiPen). One should always carry this in person in case there are any accidents and anaphylaxis occurs. If you’re with someone and you can see they’re suffering from anaphylaxis, use an EpiPen if they have one and still rush them to the emergency room for observation. Observation is essential since these symptoms can recur after a few hours, so it’s best to stay under the doctor’s care.

Onion and garlic allergy

If you’re suffering from an onion allergy, it is common to find that you’ll have the same reaction to garlic. These two ingredients are from the same genus (allium), which means the proteins in these foods are similar, and the body mistakes one for the other. This confusion that goes on in the immune system is known as cross-reactivity. You may also find that you’ll have the same allergic reaction to other alliums like chives, shallots, leeks, and scallions. The cross-reactivity level for different vegetables in this genus varies amongst different individuals.

Onion Intolerance

Our Complete Intolerance Test Box.

The most common and well-known reaction to onions is intolerance. Onion intolerance often comes with many gastrointestinal symptoms. Often with onion intolerances, you may find that you have an underlying condition that is leading to all the gastrointestinal mishaps. In such cases, you’ll need treatment for the core ailment, which could eliminate the intolerance. However, in other cases, you’ll find that your doctor won’t be able to see any underlying conditions that could be leading to symptoms similar to the ones we’ve mentioned. It can be difficult to determine which food is causing an intolerance, as symptoms can occur days after consuming the problem food. To be sure which food item is causing symptoms, you could take an Intolerance Test. Our complete intolerance test looks at reactions to onion, garlic and 157 other items.

Onion Allergy Testing

If you have a reaction every time you consume onions, you should see your doctor, give them your history, and explain your symptoms. If you’re experiencing allergy symptoms but are unsure what is the cause, you may benefit from taking an allergy test. An allergy test will check your sample against all common allergens in your food and immediate environment then we’ll send you a list of the foods you need to avoid because you’re allergic.

Our allergy test is ideal since you don’t have to make a doctor’s appointment or wait in their office for hours on end to know what’s causing your symptoms. You can order easily online, get delivery within three days, take a sample, and once you send it back you’ll have your results within seven days via mail. With this test, you don’t have to stop working because we’ll take care of everything else while you have an uninterrupted life.

Foods that can cause onion allergy

When suffering from an onion allergy, you must avoid alliums, including shallots, garlic, chives, mugwort tea, leeks, and scallions. Avoiding all of these is the easiest way to prevent getting any symptoms. However, it can be very difficult to avoid onions since they’re in many processed, prepared, and packaged foods. When reading labels under the term ‘seasonings’, you’ll often find that alliums fall into that category. Always read labels carefully; if you’re unsure about the components, call the manufacturer, and they will let you know. You can, however, avoid foods with unclear labels.

It is also important to note that the FDA doesn’t require manufacturers to list onions as an allergen. However, manufacturers are required to list all ingredients. If the ingredient list doesn’t seem to tell you all you need to know, it is safe to pass it up and only deal with fresh ingredients rather than pre-packaged foods. By doing so, you’ll be taking extra care of your body since you’ll know every ingredient that goes into your meal. It is common to find alliums in foods like:

  • Flavoured cheese.
  • Salsa or Pico de gallo.
  • Flavouring packets.
  • Broths.
  • Frozen or pre-made pizza crust.
  • Frozen entries.
  • Crackers.
  • Premade soups and sauces.
  • Deli meats.
  • Frozen foods.

If you’re generally allergic to alliums, you’ll also have a reaction to flowering amaryllis plants, which are primarily ornamental alliums and various varieties of lilies. Be extra careful when contacting these types of flowers, as they may cause a reaction if you’re extra sensitive.

Onion allergy treatment

When you have an onion allergy, there are various ways you can manage it at home. These include:

  • Epinephrine: This autoinjector is used in treating anaphylaxis that doctors prescribe.
  • Hydrocortisone cream: Topical use can help reduce itching and inflammation.
  • Aloe Vera: If you have itchy hives, aloe vera can help soothe the redness that comes with itching, even though it can’t help histamines level in your blood.
  • Antihistamines: You can find these available as sprayed medications or oral. This medication blocks histamine production, reducing or eliminating minor allergy reactions like nasal congestion, hives, and itching.
  • Albuterol sulphate inhaler: This bronchodilator helps increase airflow through the bronchial tubes.

Even though the above forms of treatment can soothe your immediate symptoms, the best way to treat allergies is by avoiding these trigger foods. In this case, you will need to avoid onions and some alliums, if not all. Even though avoiding these will be hard at first, you will also enjoy a symptom-free life which is better than rushing to the emergency room every time. You can easily enjoy your meals without alliums and onion allergy symptoms.


  1. Arena, A., Cislaghi, C., & Falagiani, P. (2000). Anaphylactic reaction to the ingestion of raw onion. A case report. Allergologia et immunopathologia, 28(5), 287–289.

Nut Allergy Guide

Nut allergies are among the most common food allergies affecting adults and children equally. Peanuts are legumes like chickpeas and lentils, and there is a difference between peanut allergy and tree nut allergy. However, around 25-40% of people with peanut allergies are allergic to at least one other nut {1}. Most people with a nut allergy have it for a lifetime, however, approximately 14% of children with a tree nut allergy and 20% with a peanut allergy end up outgrowing them. If you’re a parent and have a child with a nut allergy, there is a chance that siblings of this child will have the same allergy.

Even though peanuts grow underground, unlike tree nuts, those with peanut allergies have the same symptoms as those with tree nut allergies. When you’re allergic to nuts, your immune system reacts to nuts as it mistakes them for something harmful. The first time you consume or inhale nuts, your body won’t react, but your immune system identifies and prepares to act on it if you ever consume it again. So, the next time you contact nuts, your body makes antibodies to fight these nuts. The antibodies latch onto the proteins in nuts – this triggers the immune system, which releases histamines. Histamines are what cause uncomfortable allergy symptoms.

Nut allergy symptoms

Symptoms of a nut allergy range from mild to severe, varying from one person to the next. These symptoms occur within minutes to hours of contact with nuts, either through inhaling their powder, consuming them or, in extreme cases touching them. Common allergy symptoms include:

  • Raised red bumps on the skin – hives (urticaria).
  • Swelling of the lips.
  • Tightening of the throat.
  • Digestive symptoms – cramps, stomach pain, nausea or vomiting.
  • Tingling of the throat and mouth.
  • Itchy skin and nut allergy rash.
  • Runny nose.

The above symptoms are always mild to moderate, which is simple to treat with over-the-counter medications. However, nuts are known to cause severe allergic reactions called anaphylaxis. You can identify it through symptoms like:

  • Difficult or noisy breathing.
  • Difficulty talking or a hoarse voice.
  • Wheeze or persistent cough.
  • Swelling of the tongue.
  • Swelling or tightness of the throat.
  • Persistent dizziness or collapse.
  • Paleness and floppiness in young children.

These reactions could be life-threatening, and there is a need for immediate medical care. If you have an Epinephrine injector, use it to administer adrenaline and you can repeat this if your symptoms don’t go away within 5-15 minutes. You also need to call 999 in such situations for help. If you have a nut allergy, you must carry two EpiPens (Auvi-Q, EpiPen, Symjepi) and learn how to use them. If your young one has severe allergies, the drug palforzia may help them lessen the symptoms when they’re exposed.

Is coconut a nut allergy?

Coconuts are not nuts. However, some people allergic to nuts will also be allergic to coconuts. There is also evidence of cross-reactivity between coconuts, walnuts, and hazelnuts. Evidence also suggests an association between coconut allergies with macadamia and almond allergies. Even though there are associations, the chances are pretty low, but you also need to be sure. The same applies to tree nuts. You can find that a person with one tree nut allergy is allergic to other tree nuts but not all. For example, you could have a cashew nut allergy and not have a Brazil nut allergy.

Can you develop a nut allergy?

Although nut allergies are common in children, they can also appear in adults. As an adult, you can have a sudden nut allergy even though you never had it as a kid. However, the chances of developing a nut allergy as an adult are low. Children are the ones who mainly develop nut allergies and many other types of allergies, which they then could possibly outgrow later on in life. Some people, however, have a higher chance of developing nut allergies. Risk factors of nut allergies include:

  • Age: Infants and toddlers often develop food allergies, but as they mature, they are less likely to have these triggers.
  • Other allergies: You’re likely to develop nut allergies if you have allergies such as hay fever or other food allergies.
  • Past allergies: If you had an allergy, let’s say, peanut allergy as a child, it can likely recur when you’re an adult.
  • Family history: Having family members with food allergies puts you at a higher risk of developing the same.
  • Atopic dermatitis: Some people with this condition or eczema also have a food allergy.

Nut allergy treatment

Woman with nut allergy avoiding a plate of nuts
A woman with a nut allergy

There is currently no medicine that will completely treat nut allergy. The best course of treatment for nut allergy is avoidance of them. Ensure you read menus, food labels, ingredients, and so on. You will have to thoroughly read the ingredients in products and food to avoid accidents. Research on using immunotherapy to treat nut allergies is underway. There is, however, a way to prevent nut allergy in children {2}. Giving your child the allergen within 4-6 months may reduce the chances of developing an allergy. You can do this with any food allergens, and it will reduce the risk of developing these food allergies by up to 80%. Children at a higher risk of developing nut allergies are those with eczema, egg allergy or both. Before you introduce possible allergens to your baby, consult their doctor.

Spices to avoid with a nut allergy

It is common for cross-contamination to occur between nuts and spices. So, a person allergic to a specific protein present in nuts may also have the same reaction to spices with similar proteins. However, none causes the other. If you have a nut allergy, it is best to avoid cumin. Cumin can be found on its own or as a part of a spice mix, and often uses nuts as a filler.

Apart from peanuts, if you have nut allergies, you’ll need to avoid the following:

  • Almonds.
  • Hickory nuts.
  • Walnuts.
  • Pecans.
  • Pistachios.
  • Macadamia nuts.
  • Cashews.
  • Hazelnuts.
  • Brazil nuts.
  • Pine nuts.
  • Lychee nuts.
  • Acorns.

Nut allergy test

If you think you are allergic to nuts but you want confirmation, ordering an Allergy Test online is a great option. You’ll receive your test kit, take your sample easily, send it back to the labs, and receive your results within seven days. Our allergy test will analyse your sample against 38 key allergens, including almond and hazelnuts. This allergy test will help you narrow down the nuts you’re allergic to and any other allergens your body is reacting to in your environment, drinks, and food. After this test, you’ll have a clear way of seeing things, and you can finally control your diet and make it work for you. Knowing your allergies allows you to be more informed when cooking, purchasing items and even eating out.


  1. American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Tree Nut. (
  2. Parrish, C. P. (2018). Management of peanut allergy: A focus on novel immunotherapies.(

Kiwi Allergy Guide

Kiwi, also known as Chinese gooseberry, is a fruit which is relatively common in people’s diets as it is rich in nutrients and tasty. However, there are some individuals who experience uncomfortable symptoms after eating or touching the fruit. Kiwis can impact individuals in different ways, with some people experiencing severe reactions that others only notice mildly.

Most kiwi fruit allergy symptoms are mild, but this does not mean that individuals cannot respond severely, even sometimes with anaphylaxis. It has been suggested that it is more common for children to experience severe reactions to kiwi compared to adults. Even though having a kiwi allergy means you’ll not tolerate eating kiwis, it can also lead to cross-reactivity with other foods, pollen, or latex. Kiwi allergy is becoming a common issue worldwide, which is why we’ve created this Kiwi Allergy Guide to tell you more about symptoms, cross-reactivity and testing.

What is kiwi allergy?

A kiwi allergy occurs when your immune system mistakes the proteins present in kiwi as harmful substances like viruses or bacteria. After this mistake, the immune system sends white blood cells, IgE antibodies, and other compounds to fight off the “harmful” substances. When the immune system responds in such a manner, even though you don’t have any harmful substances in the body, you’ll witness kiwi allergy symptoms. The proteins present in kiwi fruit that result in allergy symptoms include actinidin, thaumatin-like protein, and kiwellin. However, studies show that the compound 30 kDa thiol-protease actinidin is the major kiwi allergen {1}. People with a kiwi allergy also tend to be hypersensitive to other foods.

Kiwi allergy symptoms

Kiwi fruit allergy symptoms are divided into two categories because there is true kiwi allergy and oral allergy syndrome.

Oral allergy syndrome

Also known as pollen food allergy syndrome (PFAS), the body accidentally confuses certain foods for pollen. This leads to the production of mild allergic symptoms. These symptoms include:

  • Itching of the mouth, lips, and tongue after eating the fruit.
  • Skin rashes.

You will notice that Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS) symptoms are rising or at their worst when pollen counts are high. OAS symptoms often only last for a few minutes before they disappear.

True kiwi allergy symptoms

When experiencing a true allergy to kiwi, the symptoms tend to be more severe than OAS. If one experiences symptoms like anaphylaxis, there is a need to get them to the emergency room. These include:

  • Abdominal pains.
  • Rashes.
  • Vomiting.
  • Trouble breathing/anaphylaxis (more common than in OAS).
  • Eczema is a skin condition that involves raised, itchy patches.
  • Hives.

If you have a mild reaction when eating kiwi, such as itching around your mouth, it is best to stop eating the fruit because the next time you consume it, the symptoms will reappear. Most true kiwi allergies happen within the first 20-30 minutes of consumption.

Kiwi latex allergy

Latex is a natural product produced by rubber trees and other similar trees. You’ll often find latex in condoms and surgical gloves. Latex allergy often increases the risk of getting different allergic reactions like kiwi allergy. Kiwi and latex share at least two similar allergens hence why they’re tightly connected to each other. If you’re allergic to latex, you might also have a higher risk of getting an allergy to bananas and avocados. The reason for this relationship between latex and fruits is due to the similarity in the compounds present in these fruits and latex. Latex compounds are also similar to compounds present in certain vegetables, fruits, nuts, and tree pollen. So, an allergy to kiwi may also mean you’ll have a latex allergy, through cross-reactivity. Having a kiwi allergy also means that you may be allergic to other fruits and vegetables that share similar compounds to this fruit.

How long does kiwi allergy last?

Kiwi allergy symptoms start a few minutes after contact or consumption of the fruit, mainly within the first two hours of consuming the fruit. For children, it’s possible that they may outgrow their allergies once they enter teenagehood. However, for adults, you need to find ways to manage the allergy since kiwi fruit will always be an allergy you need to deal with. Specific skin-related symptoms like hives and rashes may take at least two days to clear up in the short term. However, if you suffer from a severe allergy to kiwi, you must visit the hospital even after using an EpiPen because sometimes the symptoms reoccur approximately four hours after the first symptoms. Hence, it is best to stay under the doctor’s supervision if the symptoms reoccur in severe cases.

Kiwi allergy in children

Kiwi is a known allergen, and even though kiwi fruit is full of vitamins and nutrients, you shouldn’t wean your baby with kiwi if you have a history of allergies in your family. Babies have weaker immunity and tend to have many allergies even though they outgrow them late on. You can always consult your doctor if you’re worried about kiwi. If your child has an upset stomach, bloating, or even diarrhoea after eating kiwi fruit, these can be symptoms of an allergy. Some other symptoms you may see from an allergic reaction to kiwi include:

  • Redness or swelling around the lips and mouth.
  • Excessive crying.
  • Irritability.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Scaly or red patches on the skin.
  • Hives.

If you suspect your child may be allergic to kiwi, you should take them to a doctor if their symptoms are mild and resolve quickly, or straight to the emergency room if they are severe.

Kiwi allergy testing

basic allergy test
Basic Allergy Test.

If you suspect you may be suffering from a kiwi fruit allergy, then we recommend you visit your doctor and present your symptoms, and they will help you know whether you may have any underlying conditions that could be causing your symptoms. If you’re unsure if kiwi is the specific cause of your allergy symptoms and want to gain more insight, you could order yourself a simple home Allergy Test. At our laboratory, we will test your sample against common allergens in your environment and your food. After a comprehensive review by our scientists, you will get your results on your phone in seven days, showing you foods you need to keep away from since you’re allergic to them.

An allergy test only tells you what you need to avoid. However, you’re the one who needs to do the heavy lifting. The only way to manage an allergy to kiwi is by avoiding the fruit in all ways possible. While some people can consume cooked kiwi since the proteins are inactivated, others can’t. However, you don’t need to try cooking kiwi down to eat it; you can always substitute it for other healthy and nutritious fruits. Be careful when eating salads, drinking smoothies, and generally eating food not prepared by you at home. If you’re eating somewhere other than your home, always let the host or staff know about your allergy so you can prevent yourself from suffering from any kiwi allergy symptoms.


  1. Hassan, A. K., & Venkatesh, Y. P. (2015). An overview of fruit allergy and the causative allergens. European annals of allergy and clinical immunology, 47(6), 180-187.