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The science of nutrition and healthy eating
The science of nutrition and healthy eating

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1 Food allergy

Allergy UK is the largest registered charity with a wealth of information. It defines allergy as follows.

Food allergy is caused when the body mistakenly makes an antibody immunoglobulin E (IgE) to ‘fight off’ a specific food. When the food is next eaten (or sometimes is just in contact with the skin), it triggers an immune system response which results in the release of histamine and other substances in the body.

(Allergy UK, 2018)

The British Dietetic Association states in its Food Allergies and Intolerances Fact Sheet:

It is estimated that between 1–10% of adults and children have food hypersensitivity. However as many as 20% of the population experience some reactions to foods which make them believe they do have food hypersensitivity.

(BDA, 2015)

The British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology (BSACI) states that food allergy affects 3–6% of children in the developed world. In the UK, it is estimated that the prevalence of food allergy is 7.1% in breast-fed infants, with 1 in 40 developing peanut allergy and 1 in 20 developing egg allergy. There is evidence that breast feeding can reduce food allergies compared to bottle fed. Read the following quote from the NHS and decide what you think.

Breast milk also contains antibodies, which means that babies who are breastfed have passive immunity for longer.

The thick yellowish milk (colostrum) produced for the first few days following birth is particularly rich in antibodies.

(NHS, 2021)