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Food additives and food allergies

Posted on 21 September 2016

Our latest article on MumsDelivery talks about the connection between food additives and allergies. Here you can find the whole article as well as the link above. 

Is there a connection between food additives and asthma, epilepsy and food allergies?

With an increasing number of children being diagnosed with asthma, epilepsy and food allergies, it is no surprise that there is an enormous amount of information available regarding this topic. However, like with anything, before jumping to conclusions parents must take their time and research, as well as watch their child closely for reaction and changes when consuming any new food.

Not all preservatives are artificial. Some preservatives and food additives naturally occur in foods. So, it’s not surprising that kids with food allergies and intolerances are often sensitive to natural chemicals associated with their allergies.

This begs the question – what kind of food additives and preservatives could trigger asthma or epilepsy in children?

1. SALICYLATES – There has been much research done, but not yet absolutely proven, that many of the naturally occurring substances may trigger asthma. One of these is ‘salicylates’ which is an aspirin-like, naturally occurring chemical found in curry powder, paprika, oranges, apricots, ginger, honey, berries and fruit skins, tea and almonds.

2. SULFITES – Sulfites are preservatives that occur naturally. Sulfites are responsible for preventing foods from turning brown when food is exposed to air. When some people with asthma have an adverse reaction to sulfites, it can result in mild to life-threatening symptoms. Sulfites can be found in wine (most children are safe from this), dried fruits, white grape juice, frozen potatoes, certain jams and jellies.

3. TARTRAZINE – Although unproven, Tartrazine may also trigger asthma symptoms. Tartrazine is a yellow dye, commonly used in in beverages, candy, ice cream, desserts, cheese, canned vegetables, hot dogs and seasoning salts.

4. MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) – MSG is a flavor enhancer used in packaged meats and foods. Some studies show that people with asthma may have more severe episodes after consuming foods that contain MSG.

There has also been a number of reports on how certain food additives, such as preservatives 280-283 and bread preservative 282 can cause epilepsy seizures. This is why one of the most popular diets for people with epilepsy is the Elimination Diet (Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Elimination Diet) which assist with the investigation and management of children with a suspected food intolerance.

As parents, we are constantly alert and trying to protect our children from harm. Our main duty is to keep them as healthy as possible, as far as their environment allows it.

A large part of this is educating our children of what has a positive effect on their body, as well as what doesn’t and its impact. It is, without doubt, a huge learning curve for both the parents and children. But parents can be assured that they are not alone and should seek assistance.

Children with allergies and medical conditions should always carry action plans and information with them to help their carers in case of emergency.

Article written by Viktoria Komornik, founder of AllerBuddies in Melbourne, medical alert bracelets for children. Find out more at www.allerbuddies.com.au

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