Allergy in children not linked to birth weight and gestational age
An estimated 4 to 8% of people living in the EU are believed to suffer from food allergies, according to allergy organisations. Parents of newborns are advised to prolong breast-feeding, wean after 6 months, and avoid early exposure to potential food allergens to reduce their offspring’s risk of developing allergies. This is because the immature gut is thought to be permeable to food proteins, leading to an adverse immune response which could evolve into a food allergy. However, a new study from Canada suggests that this advice could be misplaced.
A recent publication from the Global Allergy and Asthma European Network (GA²LEN) provides new insights into the role that diet may play in the development of allergies, especially in children. The work suggests that the significant changes in European diets over the past 20-40 years may have contributed to the increased incidence of allergic diseases in both children and adults seen over this period.
Ensuring food safety is a shared responsibility between governments, producers, industry and consumers. Food labelling is one way in which consumers can get knowledge about the food they consider buying. Correctly following the information provided on food labels (such as expiry dates, handling instructions and allergy warnings) can help consumers prevent unnecessary food-borne illness and allergic reactions.
The prevalence of food allergy has received much interest over the past few years, with an estimated 2-4% of adults and 6% of children now suffering from some type of food allergy. Despite knowing more than ever about the issues surrounding food allergies and the foods that may cause them, food allergies remain a complex and challenging matter.
Coeliac disease (also known as gluten-sensitive enteropathy or coeliac sprue or gluten intolerance) is a condition of the small intestine caused by a complex immunological response provoked by gluten. Gluten is a storage protein found in wheat and other cereals like rye, barley and oats. Coeliac disease manifests as an array of debilitating symptoms but by following an appropriate gluten-free diet, sufferers can make a full recovery.
For those who are allergic to certain foods, such as wheat or eggs, it is easy to banish them from the diet when they are presented in a natural whole form. However, it is not easy to be sure that those same allergens will not turn up in some pre-prepared food, for example, in sauces.
Many migraine sufferers claim that their attacks are triggered by certain foods. The body's failure to inactivate the natural amines present in the food may explain why some people are affected more than others.
The European Food Information Council (EUFIC) is a non-profit organisation which communicates science-based information on nutrition and health, food safety and quality, to help consumers to be better informed when choosing a well-balanced, safe and healthful diet.