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Question
Posted by: prevention | 2009-11-26

food allergies in children

Hi DietDoc,

So many kids these days seem to have food allergies and intolerances (far more than I recall in friends as a child). I don' t seem to have any issues and my husband had a supposed lactose intolerance as a child. Is there anything I can do or should eat/avoid eating during pregnancy to prevent allergies and is there anything I should/shouldn' t feed the infant to help prevent food allergies/intolerances?

thanks so much for your advice!

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear Prevention
I think there are 4 reasons why we see more food and other allergies and intolerances in children and the general population nowadays: a) People with severe food allergies survive and contribute their allergic genes to the gene pool, whereas in the past, severely allergic individuals would probably not have survived infancy, b) We are more aware of food allergies and intolerances and the tests to determine them are more accurate, so whereas in the past many patients suffered from unspecified conditions, we can now pinpoint if their symptoms are due to an allergy or not, 3)The use of food additives in processed foods will expose the population to allergens that were not previously present in the diet 4)Recent research indicates that the modern obsession with cleanliness and keeping infants and children away from the natural environment, does not afford the children the chance to build up resistance to the allergens (for example, the incidence of asthma was found to be much higher in western populations that in populations living more close to nature. There is no way to predict if your child or future children will be allergic/intolerant to lactose just because your husband supposedly had a lactose intolerance as a child. If he did, he should still be sensitive in adulthood. When 2 people marry, their combined genes may carry the tendency to be allergic but the way it manifests in the next generation can vary a great deal. For example a parent with pollen allergies that cause rhinitis, may have a child who is sensitive to certain foods, and vice versa. I would not change your diet or cut out milk and dairy products during pregnancy because they are the best source of biologically available calcium, high-quality protein, and B vitamins (like riboflavin) in the diet. You and baby require these nutrients. When your baby is born you need to be observant to see if he/she is sensitive to your breast milk. If this should be the case, the Paediatrician will advise what type of formula the child requires. Breastfeeding is vital because it can help the child to build up antibodies, so do try and breastfeed exclusively for the first 6 months before you introduce solid foods.
Enjoy your pregnancy
DietDoc

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1
Our users say:
Posted by: DietDoc | 2009-11-27

Dear Prevention
I think there are 4 reasons why we see more food and other allergies and intolerances in children and the general population nowadays: a) People with severe food allergies survive and contribute their allergic genes to the gene pool, whereas in the past, severely allergic individuals would probably not have survived infancy, b) We are more aware of food allergies and intolerances and the tests to determine them are more accurate, so whereas in the past many patients suffered from unspecified conditions, we can now pinpoint if their symptoms are due to an allergy or not, 3)The use of food additives in processed foods will expose the population to allergens that were not previously present in the diet 4)Recent research indicates that the modern obsession with cleanliness and keeping infants and children away from the natural environment, does not afford the children the chance to build up resistance to the allergens (for example, the incidence of asthma was found to be much higher in western populations that in populations living more close to nature. There is no way to predict if your child or future children will be allergic/intolerant to lactose just because your husband supposedly had a lactose intolerance as a child. If he did, he should still be sensitive in adulthood. When 2 people marry, their combined genes may carry the tendency to be allergic but the way it manifests in the next generation can vary a great deal. For example a parent with pollen allergies that cause rhinitis, may have a child who is sensitive to certain foods, and vice versa. I would not change your diet or cut out milk and dairy products during pregnancy because they are the best source of biologically available calcium, high-quality protein, and B vitamins (like riboflavin) in the diet. You and baby require these nutrients. When your baby is born you need to be observant to see if he/she is sensitive to your breast milk. If this should be the case, the Paediatrician will advise what type of formula the child requires. Breastfeeding is vital because it can help the child to build up antibodies, so do try and breastfeed exclusively for the first 6 months before you introduce solid foods.
Enjoy your pregnancy
DietDoc

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