Food Allergy Awareness Month: Are You Aware?
by Anna-Claire Coleman MD, FRCPC, PGY6 Pediatric Allergy & Immunology, Dalhousie University
& Lori Connors, MD, FRCPC, Assistant Professor, Dalhousie University
A food allergy is an immune system-mediated adverse food reaction. In other words, food allergies happen when the body mistakenly reacts to a food as if it is harmful to you. The food itself isn’t dangerous; it’s the way your body reacts to the food. Food allergies can be further categorized into IgE-mediated reactions and non-IgE-mediated reactions. IgE-mediated reactions can lead to anaphylaxis which is an acute and severe allergic reaction that includes symptoms of hives and swelling, respiratory distress, immediate vomiting and diarrhea and low blood pressure.
Should you be 'Going Gluten-Free'?
by Edie Shaw-Ewald, RD
Tennis Player Novak Djokovic,Gwyneth Paltrow and Lady GaGa have all gone gluten free. You probably have friends and neighbours who are avoiding it. Should you?
What is gluten anyway? Gluten is a protein found in wheat (includes spelt and kamut), barley, rye and triticale. It is the part of wheat flour that gives elasticity and texture to breads, muffins and cakes. It is also found as an ingredient in many processed foods where you may not expect to find wheat, barley or rye such as sauces, seasonings, deli meats, beer, whiskey and even some medications.
Food Allergies 101
by Diana Chard, RD
Have you noticed that food allergies seem to be on the rise? It seems that nearly every adult can remember the onechild in his or her school who suffered from a life-threatening food allergy. However this is becoming a more common occurrence. Between 1997 and 2007 the prevalence of reported food allergies in children under 18 years of age in the US has increased by 18% (1). While food allergies do tend to run in families and often occur alongside other conditions, such as asthma, the reason for this increase in diagnosis is still unknown. Some speculate that it has to do with our obsessive desire for cleanliness with the use of antibacterial hand sanitizers, disinfectants, and home cleaning products which can all affect the bacterial flora in our gut. Exposure to some bacteria may protect our immune system from overreacting. However, this explanation still needs more research. Sending your kids to play in the dirt might not do anything to help prevent them from developing allergies.
Eating Out Gluten-Free
by Sarah Campbell, RD
If learning to read an ingredient list to check for gluten can be intimidating, then learning to navigate a restaurant menu can be even more so! Don’t be afraid – by asking the right questions you can safely enjoy dinner out.