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Thread: Food Allergies

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2002

    Food Allergies

    My sister and I are both allergic to foods like ice cream, mayonnaise, butter, cheese. They make us break out in cystic acne. How fun when you're in your 40s ...

    Anyone else allergic to any food? What are your reactions? Do you take any medication for the allergies?

  2. #2
    The only food allergy that I am aware of is MSG. I always request no MSG when I am ordering Chinese food. If I ingest food with MSG, I will end up with a mild headache and a loss of energy which lasts a few hours.


  3. #3
    Senior Member KLD's Avatar
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    Jul 2001
    The only thing I have become allergic to so far is caviar, which I used to it makes me deathly ill (vomiting and diarrhea). Good thing is is not something I have to avoid every day!

    My sister became allergic to lobster AFTER she and my bro-in-law bought a summer place in Maine. She has to watch him eat it now, after going out to collect the lobsters with their neighbor who has 20 pots or so during the season. She can still eat crab and shrimp though. She also has several drug allergies that I do not have.

  4. #4
    It is important to distinguish between food allergy, intolerance, and toxicity. About two thirds of the food reactions mentioned here are not allergies per se.

    1. Milk products. Intolerance of milk may be due to allergy but most frequently it is due to a condition called lactose intolerance. Milk contains a sugar called lactose. An enzyme called lactase is required to break down lactose in the upper gut or else the lactose will go into the lower bowel where it will stimulate all the bacteria to go wild, produce gas, and also release toxins that cause diarrhea. You can distinguish between allergy to milk and lactose intolerance by taking lactase pills before you ingest milk products. If the lactase pills do the job, you have lactose intolerance due to lactase deficiency. By the way, close to a third of Asians have lactose intolerance and it often appears in middle age.

    2. Monosodium glutamate (MSG). PN, your reaction to MSG is not due to allergy but rather a leaky blood brain barrier to glutamate. Glutamate is an essential amino acid and you cannot be "allergic" to glutamate. Normally, glutamate cannot penetrate the blood brain barrier and therefore should not affect your brain. However, in perhaps 15% of the population, glutamate will cross the blood brain barrier and it causes the symptoms that you describe, or worse. We recently had a student who ate some Chinese food during lunch in our lab and had a gran mal seizure.

    3. Acne and food. The cause is not well understood but has been pinpointed to oversecretion of oil (sebum) by sebaceous glands in the skin. When there is excess sebum, the skin pore that allows sweat and oil to come out may become clogged. Bacteria can grow on the sebum and infect the sebaceous glands, producing cysts that can rupture and cause scars. Because certain types of food can be associated with pimples, many people blame oily foods for their acne. However, the main cause of acne is hormones that stimulate sebaceous glands. That is why acne is so common in teenagers who are just undergoing their hormonal change. An oily complexion, irregular cleaning of skin pores, deficiency of vitamin A and zinc, and eating of oily foods aggravate the problem.

    True food allergies manifest in very different ways. For example, the reaction to caviar or lobster that KLD describes is probably true food allergy. If a person is allergic to a particular ingredient in food, the immune system releases histamine which cause swelling of the lips, a rash, and other allergic symptoms including asthma, diarrhea, and heart symptoms.

    Milk allergies are due to an immune response to milk protein (as opposed to the lactose). People who have a milk allergy cannot eat hard cheeses which contain relatively little lactose but may have a lot of milk protein. People can become so sensitive that they get an allergic response even if they eat meat that has been cut with a slicer that has been used to cut cheese. Probably one of the best source of strict milk-free products is kosher (jewish) foods that have been marked pareve, parev, parve. However, it should be noted that even Pareve products could have a tiny amount of milk.

    Wheat allergies should be distinguished from wheat or gluten intolerance. Wheat intolerance stems from inability to the gut to digest gluten. In its most severe form, it is called coeliac disease which is a malabsorption syndrome triggered by eating wheat, rye, triticale, and oats. It can be severe enough to damage the gut and its ability to absorb. Wheat intolerance will not show up with allergy tests and the diagnosis is made through controlled eating trials. For example, a person with wheat intolerance will show a significant reaction to drinking a solution of wheat flour and water.

    Other common causes of food allergies include egg, peanut, tree nut (walnut, cashew, etc.), fish, shellfish, and soy. Although these are said to account for >90% of food allergies, I think that there has been an increase in allergies to tropical fruits such as mangos, durien, kiwi, starfruit, pineapple, etc. This is in part because these exotic fruits are now being used more and more in commercial fruit juices. In many cases, the allergen is not in the flesh of the fruit but the skin of the fruit.

    Note that mango belongs in the same family as pistachio and cashew, the Anacardiae family of plants. The two major mango allergens have been identified and have been shown to cross react with other allergens, such as mugwort pollen, birch pollen, celery, carrot, and apple, as well as avocado and latex. The latter cross reaction is particularly relevant to the spinal cord injury population, many of whom have latex allergies due to use of latex gloves and catheters. Latex allergy is related to a protein found in rubber, related to mango.

    So, the question is what to do if you develop an allergic response to a food that you have just eaten. If your lips start swelling, you should take some anti-histamine right away. You can get a variety of anti-histamines, such as Benadryl, over-the-counter. Aspirins (or ibuprofen, etc.) may also help reduce some of the inflammatory symptoms. Taking a cool bath with baking soda may help relieve itching from skin rashes. If you develop or have a history of respiratory symptoms associated with allergies, you need to get to a doctor right away.

    If you are noticing allergic responses to food, keep a diary of what you eat and describe the nature and timing of the allergic responses. Keep the food labels of the food. This will help your doctor track down potential food allergies and decide what to test for.


  5. #5

    Okay, then what would this be? ? ? ?

    I have a really weird food allergy. Oddly enough, I break out in major hives if I eat undercooked potatoes. Boil, bake or nuke 'em until they are dead and I MIGHT be okay. I can eat processed potatoes like McDonald's fries or potato chips, no problem. But get a slightly undercooked potato near me and see me run like the devil for the nearest Costco size of Benedryl.

    Weird huh? Unfortunately, I have had this experiece three times in my life (including a time in the ER) with undercooked potatoes, so I know it is not a fluke.

    Anyone have any thoughts on why?

    Or anyone have a stranger food allergy?

  6. #6
    Angela, it is likely that the allergen for you is a protein that is in raw potatoes. Cooking denatures many proteins and may keep some from being allergenic for you. Denaturing is a change in the physical structure of the protein that can be caused by heat or some enzymes.


  7. #7
    I've recently been diagnosed with food allergies after over a year of having swollen and irritated lips, a condition which still persists. After three series of patch testing I've shown positive results for dodecyl gallate (a synthetic antioxidant used as a preservative in oils), mace (the spice which is processed into an artificial sweetener), turnips, and corn. Its been a month since the last testing and my condition remains. I'm wondering if these allergens could also show up in other foods that my doctor might not be aware of. The turnip allergy already threw him for a loop. He's had to do extra research just for me. I'm also wondering if I have a corn allergy (or irritation; the doctor wasn't sure), do I have to avoid meat, poultry, and dairy products from corn fed animals?

  8. #8
    Senior Member fishin'guy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Seattle area Wash state
    Years ago I had developed arthritis so bad it woud take me 10 min. to get out of my car at work and walk 50 ft into the shop. My hand were so crippled by it someone else would have to rewrite my orders. Felt like both of my feet and ankles were broken.
    I went in and had skin tests wwhich were all neg.My Dr. at the time said he'd been looking into food allergies being linked to all kinds of illnesses. He put me on a food allergy diet which restricted all but very low aller. reaction foods like, rice, lettuce, chicken, potatoes,soy. And this was like, in 1978.
    Three days later, the pain started to subside, a week later I was playing basketball again. I started adding back foods one every 3-4 days. Eggs, no prob,wheat, no prob, meat, no prob, milk & cheese, whamo, I could hardly walk the next morn.
    So I stayed off of milk products for over 5 yrs, then tried to see if it was gone ,I had a milk shake(yum) and cheeseburger, at lunch, then pizza, for dinner(imagine 5 yrs w/o pizza), and it was gone. Haven't had as severe a reaction since, but thank God that dr, knew what to try.

  9. #9

    Allergy to olives and lactose intolerance.

    I've been allergic to olives since I was a teenager, if I eat a whole olive I get ill for days, however I don't have any reaction when using olive oil in coking or in dressings and dips. Is there an explanation to that?

    Recently this year I have also been diagnosed with lactose intolerance, yet I can eat ice cream, certain cheeses, butter, creams and milk cooked to certain degrees. I've done some research on this and found mentions of some cases of lactose intolerance where you can have a limited amount of dairy. How do I know beforehand what dairy I can have without the trial and error method? Do drops and pills really help with lactose intolerance?

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