8 Common Food Allergies

8 Common Food Allergies
March 18, 2013 6:35 AM

The common food allergies include eggs, shellfish, and nuts. Each allergy may cause only a mild reaction in some people, while an allergy can be life threatening in others. The following article lists eight food allergy types.

1. Sulfites: Many food sources contain preservatives, but fewer additives. However, any flavor enhancer or preservative added to food contains sulfur-based compounds, although the numbers of sulfa allergy accounts for only 1 in 100 individuals. A sulfite allergy can develop at any time, with experts not certain about why and when sensitivities occur. Some common foods types containing sulfites include canned vegetables, jams, condiments, potato chips, picked food, and many others.

2. Eggs: Egg is a common ingredient used in many food sources, including mayonnaise, eggnog, cakes and pastries, deep-fried breaded and battered foods, and even cappuccino or latte. The best way to deal with an egg allergy is to read the labels of all your food. Try to stay away from products containing lecithin, albumin, globulin, ovalbumin, lyxozyme and ovovitelin, as these are egg proteins. 

3. Shellfish: If you have a shellfish allergy, it is important that you check food labels, as shellfish is a common ingredient found in cosmetics, skin creams, medicines, and other food types. Asian and Chinese restaurants use fish stock and fish sauce, which can contain fish protein. Seafood restaurants must be avoided, as the chef may use the same pan to fry fish and other items.

4. Nuts: The nut allergy can be especially toxic, with the repercussions causing anaphylactic shock in some individuals. Nuts are found in common food varieties, including cereal, sauces, and gravies, baked goods, and grain breads. If you have a nut allergy, always check the label of every food product, as manufacturers are prone to change the recipes of popular foods.

5. Wheat: The common foods that contain wheat include bread and pasta. Always check the labels of food to ensure that the product is suitable for wheat intolerant individuals. Wheat protein is also found in ice cream, soy sauce, battered and breaded food, baked goods, beer and ale, processed meats, and crackers. Visit your doctor and request a gluten allergy test to determine whether you can eat rye and other grain type products.

6. Dairy: Milk and dairy products can cause a reaction in people allergic to cow’s milk, and goat or sheep’s milk may not be a safe substitute. A milk allergy differs from lactose intolerance. The latter is the body’s inability to digest lactose, with common symptoms an upset stomach, diarrhea and gas. A milk allergy causes the body to feel under attack, which releases defense chemicals called histamines. Milk allergy symptoms include wheezing and vomiting.

7. Soy: Soy is another food that is difficult to avoid, as it is used widely in processed foods. Soy protein is found in canned soups and broths, baked goods, cereal, canned meats and fish, infant formulas, vegetable oil, deli meats and Worcestershire sauce. Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a common name for soy protein on food labeling.

8. Casein: If your body is allergic to casein, the body reacts by producing antibodies in defense, which can create unpleasant symptoms, including a skin reaction, nasal congestion, and swelling of the mouth, face, lips, and tongue. What is especially discomforting about a casein allergy is the risk of the body going into anaphylaxis shock.


There are many types of food allergies that can cause mild or severe symptoms, dependent on the individual and food allergy. If you experience any symptoms after eating a certain food type, ring your doctor and book an appointment to get tested.


Always check the food labels of processed foods to check whether it contains nothing that would trigger your food allergy, as manufacturers are prone to change the recipes of popular foods.

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Written by: Michal Vilímovský (EN)
Education: Medical student, 3rd Faculty of Medicine, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic
Published: March 18, 2013 6:35 AM
Next scheduled update: March 18, 2015 6:35 AM
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