Research shows that it is estimated that 8 percent of children in the United States have been diagnosed with a food allergy, and more kids are being treated in emergency rooms for reactions to food allergies. And It is estimated by researchers that 32 million Americans have food allergies, which includes over 5 million kids. That’s approximately two children per each classroom. And it is estimated that 40 percent of kids who have a food allergy are allergic to more than one type of food.
Western Diet Theory
One theory is that the Western diet has made people more susceptible. A recent study compared the gut bacteria from 15 children in Florence, Italy, with gut bacteria in 14 children in a rural African village in Burkina Faso. They varied substantially. The children in the African village live in a close-knit community which produces its own food and they eat a vegetarian diet. By contrast, the European children eat more sugar, animal fat and calorie-dense foods. These factors may result in less biodiversity in the organisms found inside the gut of European children. Sanitation measures and vaccines in the West may control infectious disease, but they decreased exposure to a variety of bacteria. “In a place where you can die [from] infectious diseases, but you don’t get allergy, obesity, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, autoimmune disease, the flora is different,” Dr. Paolo Lionetti said.
Other findings support the notion of the “hygiene hypothesis” — the idea that cases of allergies are increasing because children grow up in environments that are too clean.
“That our immune system is skewed away from fighting infections, and toward fight things that it’s not supposed to be fighting, like things in the environment or foods — that’s one thing that people think may be in play,” Rudders explained.