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

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

The science of nutrition and healthy eating

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 this article and decide what you think? Read the article Breast milk ‘raises’ immunity [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] (NHS Choices, 2010) and decide what you think.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus