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What Foods Are You Allergic To?

With everything from gluten sensitivity to severe nut allergies to worry about, millions of people find eating a risky business. Family Circle investigates why reactions are on the rise and what you must know about them.
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When Judi Zucker's son, Tanner, turned 14, he started getting daily headaches, rashes and acne breakouts. At first she chalked it up to puberty. But then the Santa Barbara–based writer was asked to pen a cookbook for people with food allergies and it occurred to her to have Tanner tested. Sure enough, blood work revealed that he was "off-the-charts" allergic to casein (a milk protein) and gluten. And he's not alone. These days, it seems like we're in the midst of an epidemic of food allergies. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, their prevalence among kids under 18 rose 50% between 1997 and 2011. While some food allergies (which usually emerge in childhood) can be outgrown, others are lifelong and require permanent dietary shifts. "Within 24 hours of going gluten- and casein-free, Tanner had no more headaches, and gradually his skin cleared up," says Zucker, 52, who went on to co-author The Ultimate Allergy-Free Snack Cookbook.

Because he'd had a few symptoms when younger, Zucker notes, "I wish I'd had him tested earlier." Protect your loved ones by getting the facts and recognizing the signs.

The Most Common Allergy Foods

About 90% of these allergies involve just eight foods. Here's how commonly they occur worldwide.

Milk: 3%
1

Peanuts: .6%
2

Wheat: Up to 1.3%
3

Shellfish: 1.2%
4

Tree Nuts (such as almonds, pecans, cashews and walnuts): Up to 4.1%
5

Soy: .6%
6

Eggs: 1%

7

Fish: .6%
8