It’s common knowledge that food allergies have been on the rise amongst kids for the last decade. This rise has motivated curious scientists to conduct scientific research to try to find out what causes food allergies and how to prevent them. We have a long way to go before we have all the answers. But there have been several recent studies that have had very interesting findings. So much so that it’s changing our advice for introducing solid foods.
These findings are so new that most health professionals won’t know about them yet. But, knowing that the Love Child Organics community is full of parents starting to feed your babies solid foods, I wanted to share the inside-scoop with you. Here’s what’s happening.
The studies, called LEAP and LEAP-ON involved babies who were at high risk for peanut allergy1. The babies were divided into several groups. Some parents were told to avoid giving their babies peanuts until they were preschool-age, some were told to introduce peanuts to their babies once (at between 4 – 11 months) and then not give them again. Some parents were told to introduce peanuts to their babies and continue giving peanuts several times a week. The lowest rates of peanut allergy were amongst the kids who were introduced to peanuts as first foods and continued to be given peanuts.
The information that the studies can provide us is limited for a few reasons. First, the studies involved a relatively small number of children. Second, the studies only looked at peanut, not any other foods. So it’s difficult to know how applicable the findings are for all kids and for all foods. Research continues in the area and I am confident that we’ll find out more. But these current findings are interesting enough that here in British Columbia, Canada we are going to be reaching out to health professionals to recommend that they change their advice to parents.
The new advice:
- Introduce common food allergens within the first few months of introducing solid foods (from about 6 months onwards).
- Continue to offer the common food allergens two to three times a week.
What are the common food allergens? They are: milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, soy, seafood (fish, shellfish, crustaceans), wheat, and sesame
1 The LEAP and LEAP-ON studies are described at http://www.leapstudy.co.uk
Child-Feeding Expert Kristen Yarker, MSc, RD helps moms and dads support your picky kids to get good nutrition today…and instill a life-long love of healthy eating.
Find out more at www.KristenYarker.com