Millions of People Wrongly Believe They Have Food Allergies

Source: Time

By JAMIE DUCHARME

January 8, 2019
These days, it can seem like just about everybody has a food allergy. But according to a new study, about 11% of American adults actually do.

Yet 19% of adults believe they have a food allergy, even though some don’t have the diagnosis or symptoms to back it up, according to findings published in JAMA Network Open.

This discrepancy suggests that quite a few adults are conflating allergies with less-severe food intolerances, which typically come with minimal digestion-related symptoms, the researchers write. If someone is truly allergic to a food, eating it can trigger a potentially life-threatening immune response. (People who are lactose intolerant, for example, may experience bloating, stomach pain and gas after eating dairy products, while those with a true milk allergy can experience wheezing, hives and anaphylaxis.)

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