The prevalence of peanut allergy has doubled in the past decade. Peanut-free zones in school cafeterias and on airplanes are now more the norm than ever before. Children and families with peanut-allergies face daily challenges of deciphering what’s in their food as well as what others are eating around them. And unlike other food allergies, peanut allergy is often life-long. Needless to say, peanut allergy is a significant burden to those affected.
As a Nutrition Consultant for Taste and Sprout, many of my clients are young kiddos with some type of food allergy. So when a reputable journal publishes a study that suggests a way to lessen the risk of peanut allergy, I sit up and listen intently.
After reading this research, so many questions continue to swirl in my head:
- Does early introduction of peanuts really offer protection against the development of peanut allergy?
- Should we start recommending that babies be given some type of peanut butter product?
- What happens if a baby is given peanut products on a sporadic rather than a regular basis- will similar results occur?
- What will the specific guidelines be and when will they be published?
- What should nutrition and health professionals suggest to parents of high-risk children in the meantime?
- Do the findings of this study apply to other food allergens such as egg, wheat, shellfish and milk?
- What is the actual reason for the recent increase in prevalence of food allergies?
- Might we in the near future, see a decline in the prevalence of peanut allergy if we start recommending early introduction?
- Will we soon be able to send our kids to school with snacks that are “manufactured in a facility containing peanuts” without worry?
What are your thoughts on this study or your experiences with food allergies? I’d love to hear your comments.