FOOD ALLERGY EDUCATION
220 MILLION PEOPLE WORLDWIDE
Food Allergies are an immune system disease which impacts people in developed countries across the globe. Worldwide, there are over 220 million reported having medically diagnosed food allergies. Of those, 15 million are in the United States. Adult onset food allergies are becoming more and more common. Typically mutliple food allergies are diagnosed in this population whereas with children, one or two allergies may be present.
Food Allergy Disease can be a life threatening disease. There are over 200 reported deaths per year from food allergy reactions. Once the body determines a specific food is a threat, it goes into anaphylaxis shock. If not treated within minutes with epinephrine, a person can die.
In the United States most people think of peanuts and now gluten as being common allergens. But this is NOT the case. The FDA recognizes 8 foods to be the cause of 90% of allergic reactions, and Gluten isn't one of them. While Gluten can be found in wheat, it is it's own combination of protiens. Egg, Milk, Fish, Shellfish, Wheat, Peanut, Tree Nuts, and Soy are amoung the most common allergens. The UK recognizes 14 foods as common allergens, while Canada recognizes 10 foods.
There are also other types of major allergens beyond food though, that should be taken just as seriously, as there are over 700 deaths that occur per year due to allergic reactions. According to AAAAI, other allergens include insect stings, environmental, seasonal, latex, exercise, animal dander, medications. There are over 170 foods known to cause allergic reactions.
Gluten is a combination of two proteins, typically used as a binding agent that can be found in rye, spelt, wheat, some sauces and meats, to name a few. Gluten is not required to be labeled on packaged food by the FDA in the United States. Gluten is a rare food allergy but more frequently a food intolerance.
Gluten most commonly affects people with Celiac Disease. Worldwide, there approximately 18 million people diagnosed or suspected to have celiac, as there is a genetic marker for it. Celiac disease is a combination of autoimmune and digestive track disorder. People managing celiac disease who have no other allergies or other medical conditions are not at risk of immediate death (anaphylaxis shock) from ingesting gluten.
Food Intolerance is a digestive system disorder. While it is much more difficult to medically test for intolerance, it is not life threatening. Food Intolerance can cause severe pain, illness, and discomfort that may last for weeks. The #1 intolerance in the world is Lactose (168 million people).