New research found that 1 in 10 people in the US are afflicted with food allergies, while nearly twice that number mistakenly think that they have food allergies.
Researchers surveyed more than 40,000 adults living across the country, finding that about 10 percent were allergic to one or more foods. However, they also discovered that 19 percent of their subjects reported that they were allergic to certain foods, even though they didn’t experience the physical reactions that typically accompany a genuine food allergy.
While there’s no question that food allergies are real — and for some, potentially life-threatening — people who self-diagnose as food allergic without consulting a medical professional may be misinterpreting their symptoms as an allergic reaction, the study authors wrote.
In those cases, what the individuals were experiencing could be a sign of food intolerance” or other food related conditions” rather than a true allergic response, lead study author Dr. Ruchi Gupta, a pediatrician and professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Illinois, said in a statement.