fbpx Skip to content

When a Food Allergy Isn’t a Food Allergy

Survey finds many people incorrectly conclude food sensitivities are allergic reactions.

About 10% of American adults—over 26 million people—are believed to have a legitimate food allergy, where the body’s immune system sees a certain food as harmful and reacts with symptoms ranging from mild to severe or life-threatening. But according to a survey of over 40,000 adults, conducted by Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Northwestern University, nearly twice as many—19%—think they’re allergic to a food such as wheat or dairy, even though their symptoms are inconsistent with a true food allergy.

It’s crucial that people who suspect they’re allergic to a specific food receive appropriate testing from a physician to determine if they truly need to avoid that food. They could have a milder intolerance or suffer from symptoms that aren’t allergic reactions, in which case eliminating the food will likely be unnecessary.

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

When you buy something using the retail links in our content, we may earn a small commission. IDEA Health and Fitness Association does not accept money for editorial reviews. Read more about our Terms & Conditions and our Privacy Policy.

IDEAfit+
November-December 2020 IDEA Fitness Journal

Concerned about your place in the new fitness industry? We have 40 years of experience supporting pros just like you! Let’s create a new wellness paradigm together—IDEAfit+ is the extra edge you need. Once you team up with IDEA, be sure to take full advantage of all the benefits of membership.