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New study says half of US adults reporting food allergies don’t actually have food allergies




A man covers his face while sneezing near one of the garden show pieces at the Chelsea Flower Show in London 24 May 2004
A man covers his face while sneezing near one of the garden show pieces at the Chelsea Flower Show in London 24 May 2004
JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

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A new JAMA study out this month says of 1 in 5 adults who reported a food allergy, only 1 in 10 were actually found to be food allergic.

Does that mean your shellfish hives and foggy brain after eating gluten are just an imagination?

Not necessarily.

According to Ruchi S. Gupta, lead author of the study, “Prevalence and Severity of Food Allergies Among US Adults,” food allergies may become more common and severe into adulthood, but current research tends to focus on food allergies in children or are only secondary analyses of existing health data.

There’s also a clear line between a food allergy and food intolerance. For example, someone with a milk allergy cannot drink milk at all. Someone with lactose intolerance can — they’ll just have terrible bloating and gas.

In order to safely determine a food allergy, the study stresses getting diagnosed by a physician. We speak with Dr. Gupta for more.

Guest:

Ruchi S. Gupta, M.D., lead author of the study, “Prevalence and Severity of Food Allergies Among US Adults” published recently in the journal, JAMA; professor of pediatrics and medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine