Food Allergy and Food Intolerance

Authored by: David Heber

Handbook of Nutrition and Food

Print publication date:  July  2013
Online publication date:  April  2016

Print ISBN: 9781466505711
eBook ISBN: 9781466505728
Adobe ISBN:


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During the last 20 years, the reported prevalence of food allergies has significantly increased. However, it is not clear whether the prevalence of allergy has actually increased over the years or whether the increased reporting of this entity is merely a reflection of an increased public awareness or even based on false perceptions. 1 , 2 There are striking differences between the reported prevalence of allergy based on self-reporting and based on objective criteria. Among well-designed studies that were population based and utilized an oral food challenge for diagnosis, a wide range of prevalence was noted for cow’s milk 3 , 4 and peanut allergy 4 , 5 (0.5% vs. 5.6% and 0.15% vs. 3.0%, respectively). While genetic differences fail to explain the disparities, the timing of exposure, the confounding environmental factors, and the interpretation of oral food challenge results may each account in part for the large variations in reported incidences.

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