Earlier this week, we reported a recent study of food allergy that, perhaps not surprisingly, elicited a long and strong feeling among readers. Research has suggested that about 10% of American adults are allergic to foods like mollusks, nuts and dairy products. But he also found that almost all people were allergic, but then reported symptoms that were not consistent with a true food allergy.
Sounds harmless enough, right? Here are some of the answers we received:
"As someone dealing with a true and literal food allergy (the tree nuts put me in anaphylaxis pretty quickly), I appreciate an article that illustrates the difference . "
"For some reason why food allergies are now a desirable trait – just one other checkbox to be different and unique."
"In Other News, people want to feel special and then invent all sorts of disconcerting conditions, thus ruining the business for people who are EFFECTIVELY allergic. "
" [S] sometimes it was simply easier to tell someone who has prepared six appetizer dishes based on eggs / creams / meringues with meringue added that I have an allergy.I'm not happy to do it, but it's simpler and easier for people to explain how I would prefer not to spend four hours with a sweaty stomach ache just to have the pleasure of their eggs to the devil. "
" Yes, I know that I do not have an "allergy" but milk, some cheeses and cucumbers will cause hours of painful cramps, vomiting and other unpleasant inconveniences.Much easier to say that I have an allergy that a sensitivity to which people think I'm picky. "
Readers, both by email and in the comments section, expressed concern about what they considered to be hidden implications of the study.If there are people who say they have a food allergy but do not have symptoms consistent with one, they do not does it mean that you are essentially making fun of? A minority of readers has taken it further, suggesting that some people lie about their problems to adapt to the latest health trend. This is a common canard tossed about against people who say that their diets must be gluten-free, for example.
Our original article pointed out that people who mistakenly identify an allergy were not faking their problems, but they could experience something else, like a 'food intolerance.But given the intense emotional reactions of readers, both by those who believe that their food sensitivity is not taken seriously, s ia from those who believe that people with food problems are overly valuable, it is worth examining why we should not be contemptuous of people who wear Ho classic food allergies, but somehow they are hypersensitive.
First of all, the same authors of the study were not trying to minimize anyone's eating problems.
"We are not at all saying that people are wrong." One in 10 US adults has a food allergy and this is a very significant number, half of these allergies are developing into adulthood which is also very alarming. ", principal author Ruchi Gupta, professor of pediatrics at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, told Gizmodo. "Another 9 percent showed very good food conditions that could be a food allergy but the symptoms overlapped other food-related conditions."
The survey, for example, asked people with a food reaction to list the most serious reaction symptoms And the Gupta team classified those who had at least one of several well-documented symptoms of a food allergy, such as hives or swelling of the mouth or throat, as if they had a real allergy. But asking people to remember their past is always a sensitive issue. So perhaps some people not classified as allergic to food in the study actually had consistent symptoms but did not mention them.
In addition, scientists are discovering and studying all sorts of ways in which the body can react badly to food that does not necessarily seem like a classic food allergy.
People with a rare eosinophilic disorder, for example, produce more eosinophils, a type of white blood cell, which they actually need. This overproduction can therefore cause attacks of inflammation. There are different types of disorders, depending on where the hyperactive eosinophils are produced. But people with gastrointestinal eosinophilic diseases, that is to say their eosinophils can cause chaos along the whole digestive system, often have food-related triggers. The most common form of this type, eosinophilic esophagitis, or EoE, could affect one in 4,000 children.
And although many reactions to a triggering food may be immediate and involve immunoglobulin E antibody, as a typical allergy, not all will do it. Some people may have delays, chronic reactions – such as heartburn, chronic stomach ache and a damaged esophagus – involving other antibodies not associated with food allergy, such as immunoglobulin G, a spokesman for the American partnership for eosinophilic disorders to Gizmodo via e-mail.  There are other complicated immune disorders, such as mast cells. As with eosinophilic disorder, people with mast cell disease can experience a mix of sudden and delayed reactions to food triggers. Estimates of how many people have mast cellular diseases are difficult to achieve, but some forms can affect about one in every 10,000 people. People with celiac disease have a delayed immune response to gluten. There is also Hashimoto's disease, an autoimmune condition that gradually damages the thyroid and affects 1-2% of people in the United States. Hashimoto patients are particularly sensitive to iodine, which is used to produce thyroid hormone, so they must monitor their diet carefully and avoid too much. And of course there are other conditions, such as lactose intolerance, which do not involve the immune system at all.
The long and the short of all this is that our bodies are weird, and we've just scratched the surface to understand the many ways it can go wrong. That said, it's understandable why some people with lactose intolerance, for example, might simply want to call their problem an allergy, a simple term that everyone understands. In other cases, as some readers have pointed out, people may choose to call their complex food sensitivity an allergy to avoid nosy judgments or questions.
"We still have family members who will ask:" Well, I can still give "Because they do not see the impact of a trigger," GM Contreras, founder of a family support group, told Gizmodo. occupy EoE and father of a child with EoE. "Some children receive only hives. Some have a stomach ache. Some die. You never know when and how impact will come. "
Of all food movements, the gluten tendency seems to pick up the most eyes.Research has gone back and forth on the question of whether people can get sick of eating gluten, but they do not actually have an allergy. wheat or celiac disease.But while we are not completely sure how gluten can make these people feel bad (or even gluten itself is the real culprit of the diet), there have been studies showing that some people with a sensitivity to gluten really signal signs of internal damage and experience relief after cutting wheat and other high-gluten-free foods out of their diet.
But if you choose to call an allergy intolerance when you decline a dish at a dinner, or you suspect you have a problem but you do not know how to categorize it, it's definitely worth identifying why exactly you can tolerate some food while finding a doctor It is better than self-diagnosis to help you better understand your particular food problem. It is not necessarily an easy or convenient task. This, said Gupta, is what he hopes people can take away from his research.
"We wanted to emphasize the importance of getting a diagnosis from the doctor, so if it's another dietary condition compared to a food allergy, they know how to handle it, as some are treatable and some, like food allergies, can be life threatening, "he said.
Regardless of whether you are officially diagnosed with an allergy, an intolerance or anything else, if avoiding some food makes you feel more comfortable, less sick or better all round, then you do not there is shame in this.