By Lynne Adkins
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Food allergies have been on the rise in America. Experts say there are a few reasons.
Food allergies among children have doubled in the past 17 years, and there’s no indication it’s going to get better any time soon.
Dr. Bob Pierson, a professor of Food Science, Nutrition and Management at Delaware Valley College says there are several possible causes, including what we now eat.
“We’ve really changed our diet to eat much more processed foods, much higher rates of protein and starch than have ever been eaten before, anywhere,” he said. “And that leads to things like obesity and asthma and they happen to coincide with the same kinds of problems for food allergies.”
Many of us also try to get nutrients by taking vitamin pills, instead of by eating a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. He says it’s also possible that we should get out into the dirt more often.
“People in third world countries tend not to have food allergies,” he said. “So there’s still that debate for regular allergies that our environment is too clean and therefore we don’t build up enough microbes in our digestive system, and that may actually affect how people react to food allergies as well as other allergies.”