A major review of the food allergy medical literature was published in the May 12 issue of JAMA. After reviewing hundreds of studies, the researchers concluded that:
- There is no common definition of food allergy (as opposed to sensitivity or autoimmune disorder) and there should be.
- Despite elimination diets being the main treatment at this point in time, there is only one study of their effectiveness.
- Food allergies affect more than 2 percent but less than 10 percent of population.
- Breastfeeding, hypoallergenic formula, and probiotics can all help allergic infants have fewer symptoms. Breastfeeding has the strongest effect, and there is a positive effect of maternal dairy product elimination for dairy allergic infants.
- There is no evidence of any effect of maternal elimination diets during pregnancies. (So you can stop feeling guilty about that peanut butter fudge ripple ice cream cone you kept craving.)
- The Top 8 Food Allergens = 50 percent of reactions (as opposed to 90 percent, which you will often read). This means people with “weird” allergies, like barley or celery, are a lot less “weird” than their doctors may lead them to believe.
Chafen JJ, et al. Diagnosing and managing common food allergies: a systematic review. JAMA. 2010 May 12;303(18):1848-56.