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This Food Is Becoming a Bigger Allergy Threat Than Nuts, Data Says

Pediatric medical data show this is "the most distressing of the food allergies," as noted by an M.D.
child drinking

Many parents know how seriously American schools have taken nut allergies in recent years. Today, medical experts report there's a new food allergy threat that's every bit as serious. Unfortunately, this has been a staple of the American diet for decades… and it might be a tougher food to eradicate from all the places children go.

WebMD has reported that food-induced anaphylaxis (allergic reactions) led to a 25% increase in hospitalizations among children between 2006 and 2012, according to an analysis of pediatric hospital data performed in 2019. While for years, peanuts and some tree nuts were to blame more than other foods, cow's milk is now "the most common food allergy in children younger than five years," according to the WebMD report. Astoundingly, cow's milk is said to account "for about half of all food allergies in children younger than one."

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It's reported that in the U.K., cow's milk was the food allergy most likely to lead to death in school-aged children. Carla Davis, M.D., director of the food allergy program at the Texas Children's Hospital in Houston was quoted saying, "Cow's milk allergy is the most distressing of the food allergies. Many people are unaware that it can cause anaphylaxis that is so severe." Davis added: "People do not think about how much of this is in our food."

The report explains that cow's milk has been a popular drink for children for its calcium, vitamins, and other nutrients, like protein. However, some of these same proteins are the very triggers that the body identifies as foreign and attacks, which produces the allergic reaction event. Some experts say all this is why it's so important to educate the public about the dangers of dairy today.

If there's good news, it's that as children age, reports suggest that some outgrow the cow's milk allergy. In the meantime, if you're looking to clean up your kitchen, check out 22 tips to cut back on dairy, according to experts.

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Krissy Gasbarre
Krissy is a senior news editor at Eat This, Not That!, managing morning and weekend news related to nutrition, wellness, restaurants and groceries (with a focus on beverages), and more. Read more
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