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Take Charge of Your Health During World Food Safety Day

World Food Safety Day highlights the importance of food security and quality, promoting sound practices and reducing the burden of foodborne diseases globally. Food safety is all about the shared responsibility between governments, producers, and consumers.

Throughout much of the world, food safety means diseases and contamination. However, in Western nations, most of these problems have either been solved or reduced. The problem here is the rising wave of allergies and food sensitivities. It’s an underreported issue.

Thankfully, there are plenty of things you can do to take charge of this issue, from dietary adjustments to food sensitivity testing.

What is World Food Safety Day?

World Food Safety Day, observed annually on June 7th, aims to raise awareness about food safety and encourage actions to prevent, detect, and manage foodborne risks. Established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2018, it is jointly facilitated by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The day underscores the importance of food safety in ensuring food security and promoting good health.

Prevent, Detect, And Manage Foodborne Risks

The UN often uses the date to raise awareness about a particular topic, such as ‘Safe Food Now for a Healthy Tomorrow.’ However, it also serves as a general conversation starter, fostering collaboration among stakeholders and educating the wider public.

Indeed, World Food Safety Day is a fantastic opportunity to understand more about your health.

Taking Charge of Your Health

Sometimes, when we talk about health, we talk about things that happen to us, as if we’re a passive partner in the relationship. If we feel unwell, tired, or bloated, we chalk up to the way things are.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Exercise, good sleep, and a nutritious diet are the building blocks of health and well-being. Taking charge of your health means eating responsibly and making time to be active. But some people find even with the right diet and fitness regimen, they still feel… off.

Something else is going on. Being proactive with your health isn’t just about the basics. It’s about identifying symptoms and diagnosing problems – even vague, systemic symptoms like tiredness, bloating, or brain fog. They could be indicators of an underlying allergy or food sensitivity.

Understanding Allergies and Food Sensitivities

Food allergies and sensitivities are increasingly common, particularly in Western nations where other food safety issues are better controlled. Why this is happening isn’t fully understood. Various theories, ranging from antibiotic overuse to pesticides, have been suggested.

But what do we mean by food allergies and sensitivities? Let’s explain:

  1. Allergies involve the immune system reacting to certain foods, causing symptoms like hives, swelling, and potentially life-threatening anaphylaxis. Common allergens include nuts, shellfish, and dairy.
  2. Food sensitivities, or intolerances, are generally less severe and involve the digestive system. Symptoms can include bloating, gas, and fatigue, with common triggers being lactose and gluten.

While allergies are much more obvious, food sensitivities can be surprisingly subtle. It’s only after the symptoms subside that the person wonders how they ever lived with such tiredness or bloating.

Getting Tested

Food sensitivity tests can help pinpoint specific intolerances, while allergy tests can identify immune responses to certain foods. Keeping a food diary and noting reactions can also aid in identifying problems. However, without the results from food sensitivity tests, it’s hard to interpret the patterns. After all, symptoms of food sensitivities can take up to 48 hours to appear.

Once identified, managing these conditions typically involves eliminating or reducing the intake of the offending foods and finding suitable alternatives to maintain a balanced diet.

Perform a Complete Body Checkup

Want to know what’s going on inside your body? If you’ve noticed some unusual symptoms but can’t pinpoint the cause, consider taking the Complete Body Test. It tests for 38 allergens and 79 intolerances – including foods and inhalants – to give you a comprehensive picture of your body’s health.

Thanks to the complete list of tested items, it’s the best way to identify the underlying cause of your symptoms.

Getting tested is simple. When you purchase a test kit, we’ll send you everything you need to send a sample. Once we’ve received the sample, we’ll perform an expert analysis and send you the results within a week.

Alongside the results, you’ll receive a free 30-minute consultation with a nutritional therapist. You can clarify your results and ask questions about changing your diet. It’s personalised healthcare at its finest.

So, if you’ve experienced symptoms such as stomach pain, bloating, headaches, swelling, rashes, itchiness, or diarrhoea, try the Complete Body Test today.

Your Guide to Healthy Christmas Presents

Getting the perfect gift for someone doesn’t have to be a mystery. It doesn’t even have to be difficult. You just need to know what to look for in your focus and your choice. Are you hunting for healthy Christmas presents for a loved one? If so, you’ll love the idea of getting them something personalized yet broad enough to give them a benefit, no matter their health-based lifestyle. Below, we’ll show you how complete body testing fits the bill perfectly and why it is the ultimate choice in your guide to healthy Christmas shopping.

Health and the body

Let’s dive a little bit into how you can look at health. For most of us, health involves diet and fitness. It often focuses on physical and mental health. This is true, of course, but it also goes beyond that. Health is a multifaceted part of our lives that deserves a multifaceted approach for the best result. Sometimes, the best ideas come from circumstances you might not normally consider.

Health is always a daily adventure, but you must also play the long game. The better care you take of yourself now, the better your life expectancy is about health issues and conditions. The habits that someone sets in their younger years (regardless of their age) will lead them into a future where those habits come into being. The better the habit, the better the future! Health is a fine example of this.

So, gifting healthy Christmas presents to someone with complete body testing can help them take the first step toward an in-depth look at how their body is doing. This prompts them to make changes daily to help them enjoy easier and healthier lifestyles. As you’ve likely heard before, the better you take care of your body, the better it can take care of you!

The benefits of gifting health to someone

If you like the sound of that, let’s dive deeper into what it means to literally give health to someone. These intangible benefits are impressive and brimming with positivity. Take a look and see for yourself.

Benefits Of Gifting Health Over Christmas

Help protects against diabetes, dementia, heart disease

Taking care of your health daily, weekly, and so on helps reduce the likelihood of developing chronic conditions. Some of the most common ones include diabetes, dementia, and heart disease. While no test or lifestyle can 100% guarantee protection from these health conditions forever, preventative care can help reduce their likelihood! This is especially great for those with genetic predispositions.

Can reduce the likelihood of fractures

Our bones naturally start to weaken with age. This can lead to fractures and complex fractures that require surgery and recovery. The stronger you keep your bones through a good diet and exercise, the better your likelihood of staying safe from fractures. Good health goes a long way to protect your body in those later, more vulnerable years!

Can reduce falls

Another wonderful, tangible benefit is that taking a daily approach to health means keeping muscle tone up. The stronger those muscles are, the better someone’s overall physical health will be. Keeping muscle tone as strong as possible helps prevent falls from weak joints or muscles or poor balance. This is especially great for those on your shopping list who love independence!

Testing helps them remember their priorities

When you see all of those benefits to good health, it’s simple to see why it makes such a great gift. There is another great facet to this gift idea, too. It helps your loved one remember what is most important in their life. Getting complete body testing helps them see how their bodies are doing in “real-time.” It also shows them how to take as best care of themselves as possible. Both allergies and intolerances are difficult to self-diagnose. So, the test results can help exclude and identify the reactions.

There are many different types of healthy Christmas presents that you can get for someone you love. Testing is a great choice, but you can combine that with something more tangible. For example, a cookbook for healthy, delicious meals. Or, a fitness program that you can do with them so that you both make positive changes in your lives.

One of the most exciting details about giving health to someone is that there are a million ways you can go about it and a million combinations. This will help you see how much flexibility you have when holiday shopping, and you’ll be in the perfect position to get the truly perfect gift for those special people in your life. Grab your test from Lifelab today

Unmasking Your Food Allergies: Your Halloween Allergy Survival Guide

There is so much excitement for little ones around the Halloween season. From dressing up as their favourite superhero or animal to getting lots of free treats, it’s a wonderful adventure. Halloween can be a challenging time of year for those with food allergies or food intolerances. Use this Halloween allergy survival guide to help you learn the basics of celebrating safely with as minimal an impact as possible. There are all sorts of tricks, including staying snack-aware and signing up for complete body testing. You can also learn how to plan your Halloween adventures with allergies in mind. Take a look at the treats below!

Snack-size treats are different from full-size treats

Mini or snack-sized treats sometimes contain different ingredients than their full-size companions. Sometimes, they are processed in a different facility or on machinery that also processes allergen-containing candy. Check the ingredients, and read the labels for everything in your child’s trick-or-treat bag. Remove treats from your child’s stash if necessary. It’s always better to be safe rather than sorry!

Do this with every candy choice you are considering. Then, list the ones that are and are not safe. You can give that list to your child, their teacher, and other caretakers. This will help them know the risks, too!

Have a treat swap with trusted friends

If you know your child will bring home allergen-containing treats, make it into a game. Explain that there are allergens in their treats, and these need to be picked out. Then, put the “bad” treats into a bag to give to a friend, family member, or the mysterious “treat fairy”. You’ll swap these for “good” treats.

If you make this a planned part of the Halloween celebration, your children will never feel cheated. It will just be part of the fun!

Treats aren’t the only possible allergens

Tips for a safe Halloween season

Below, we’ll cover how to trick-or-treat with food allergies or food intolerances. But first, take a moment to remember that Halloween comes with more than candy. It also comes with face paint, masks, and other changes to a child’s wardrobe. But, these temporary changes could contain non-food allergens or intolerances (e.g., latex).

Not sure if those will cause an issue for your child? Complete body testing can give you a full profile of problem areas. Once you have those results, carefully check your costume and food details. This way, Halloween stays safe and fun! Plus, that information will be valuable all year long.

Tips for a safe Halloween season

Now, carefully plan an evening of safe trick-or-treating! Use this Halloween allergy survival guide to help prepare and execute the perfect spooky night!

No candy testing

One of the best ways to ensure your little one doesn’t have an allergic reaction is to prevent them from snacking while they’re out. If the rule is to wait until they get home, you can safely oversee ingredient checking and be prepared to help if they do react to something.

Avoid homemade goodies

This should be the rule whether at a party, on their trick-or-treating route, or even at home after the fact. Since they can contain many possible allergens, it’s always best to avoid them. Your little one can learn how to decline homemade treats at parties. Plus, you can swap out homemade treats at home for allergen-friendly goodies instead.

Plan your route

Before Halloween night, plan your trick-or-treating route as a family and try to focus on homes/stops that serve allergen-friendly options alongside classic ones. Since more and more children have issues with food, this has become a lot more common. You can even have a neighbourhood online group where each house specifies what they put out so everyone can plan routes.

Have an allergy-aware friend

One of the most important details is to ensure that your trick-or-treater has someone with them who is aware of their allergies and will keep an eye on them when they are out. This includes watching for a reaction and knowing what to do if one were to occur. Remember that sometimes a severe allergy can be triggered by your child coming into contact with another child who has eaten something with their allergen. It is no one’s fault, but it must still be managed quickly and calmly.

Prepare for Halloween

If someone has food allergies, intolerances, or even non-food allergies, preparation is vital. Before you pick a costume or buy snacks, consider complete body testing for every household member so that you know exactly what is safe and for whom. A safe Halloween starts with accurate information, after all!

Are you ready to unmask the truly scary part of Halloween? You’re now ready to start preparing for a fun, healthy holiday! This Halloween allergy survival guide will give you the support you need and deserve so that everyone is included in your special plans!

Gluten Intolerance Vs. Wheat Allergy – What’s The Difference?

Sorting out what your body is doing means having an in-depth understanding of what’s happening. Two commonly confused conditions are gluten intolerance and wheat allergy. How do you know if you have gluten intolerance symptoms or an allergy to wheat? Below we’ll break down the differences for you. This will help you understand why a complete intolerance test could be what you need. It will help you have a fulfilling lifestyle featuring the right dietary staples. Let’s go!

What is gluten intolerance?

Gluten intolerance is a digestion issue in your body. It means that your body can’t digest gluten, a type of protein found in rye, barley, and wheat. The most common gluten intolerance symptoms include nausea, bloating, diarrhoea, and a rash. Intolerance symptoms can be mild to severe, depending on how strong your intolerance is.

There is a lot of confusion between gluten intolerance and coeliac disease. This happens even though coeliac disease is an autoimmune disorder that is different. If you were to eat gluten-containing food with an intolerance, you would be uncomfortable but perfectly okay. If you were to eat it with coeliac disease, you could be causing harm to your body.

What is a wheat allergy?

So, let’s compare what we have learned so far to a wheat allergy. This is an allergic response to a component in wheat itself rather than gluten. The body attacks the wheat and causes a variety of symptoms. An allergic reaction to wheat can happen minutes to hours after eating the wheat.

A wheat allergy is dangerous even in its mildest forms because it is an immune system response. In this way, it’s more similar to coeliac disease than gluten intolerance. That being said, you should keep the two separate since they are different.

You can see why there is so much confusion between the different conditions! They present slightly similar to that inexperienced food lover.

Understanding their key differences

Key differences between a gluten intolerance and wheat allergy

With so much confusion and similarity, you should take the time to understand their key differences to know what you’re dealing with. Here are some differences to help you keep them separate in your mind for your health’s benefit.

Gluten is a digestive issue

If you are gluten intolerant, your digestive system doesn’t contain the proper enzymes to break down the gluten protein. You’ll find that eating any gluten-containing food will cause discomfort, be it bread, processed foods, etc.

Wheat allergy is an allergy to wheat rather than gluten

If you are allergic to wheat, you will have an immune system response to wheat products. This is different because you can eat other gluten-containing foods without a problem. But even small amounts of wheat-containing foods will cause an immediate or delayed allergic reaction.

Autoimmune diseases are different from allergies and intolerances

Dealing with something like coeliac disease is different from the other two. It is a personalised autoimmune disorder that would be diagnosed with an antibody test. You would treat and live with this differently than an intolerance or an allergy.

The importance of testing

When it comes to these three conditions, the best way to find your way forward is to do an at-home complete intolerance test. This is especially a good idea with especially gluten intolerance and wheat allergy. This will help you see your intolerances in clear lab-tested detail so that you can modify your diet in the right way. If you have gluten intolerance, it will appear on this test. If you don’t, you may have a wheat allergy instead.

How to adjust your diet

If you are gluten intolerant, you’ll need to make some changes to help you replace gluten. After all, gluten foods are a great source of protein, fibre, and many nutrients. Gluten intolerance is common. You will find many gluten-free foods in mainstream groceries and restaurants. The beauty is that gluten-free living is not as difficult as it once was.

If your complete intolerance test results show that you have gluten intolerance and others, you should take a more specific approach. Consider the idea of working with a dietician. They can help you create a daily food plan to help you keep your health and nutritional profile steady. This is very important while you adjust to lifestyle changes that may come as a result of this diagnosis. Specialised dieticians can help interpret test results and give you support for a healthy future.

There are key differences between a wheat allergy and gluten intolerance. This is the case even if they sometimes feel the same for someone trying to figure out what is going on. This will guide you toward the right resources and life change you need to help you enjoy food again.

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.

References

  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. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1398-9995.2007.01527.x
  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.

References

  1. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. (https://www.aaaai.org/Allergist-Resources/Ask-the-Expert/Answers/Old-Ask-the-Experts/allergy-intolerance-sugar)
  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

basic-allergy-test-front
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.

References

  1. American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Soy. (https://acaai.org/allergies/allergic-conditions/food/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. https://doi.org/10.4168/aair.2015.7.1.60

Food Allergy Laws in Restaurants in the UK

There is no sincere love than the love of food

GEORGE BERNARD SHAW

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

complete-body-front
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.

References

  1. Mintel’s Allergy and Allergy Remedies UK 2010. Foods Matter. (https://www.foodsmatter.com/allergy_intolerance/miscellaneous/articles/mintel_allergy_report_2010.html)
  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. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/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.

References

  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.
  3. https://www.foodallergy.org/resources/facts-and-statistics