The truth is: no one really knows for sure! There are a few theories, however:
- We may simply be getting better at diagnosing food allergy, and there is certainly more attention on the topic/medical issue than there was in previous generations.
- We may have mistakenly delayed food introduction.
For years in the United States, it was recommended to delay introduction of highly allergenic foods such as nuts and seafood. We later learned that countries with the lowest incidence of food allergy were introducing a variety of foods into children’s diets at an earlier age. New studies suggest earlier introduction may help prevent food allergy. All of this leads to the theory that delayed food introduction may have led to a rise in food allergy.
- Our diet may be to blame!
Some believe that the Western diet, which includes more calorie-dense foods, animal fat, and sugar than other places, may be altering gut bacteria. If the gut bacteria are less protective, it may contribute to food allergy development.