Early Introduction of Allergenic Foods: Dangerous or Beneficial?

A recent article published in Time magazine discusses the possibility of preventing food allergies by introducing “problem foods” like eggs and peanuts into babies’ diets early in life. The article cites a recent analysis published in the Journal of The American Medical Association (JAMA).

The old American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation was that allergenic foods should not be fed to infants until they are at least a year old. However, in the United States over the past ten years, the prevalence of food allergies has nearly doubled. New evidence shows that when foods such as peanuts, eggs, and fish are introduced earlier in life, they can help prevent food allergies. This was seen when these foods were introduced between ages 4 and 6 months.

It is not clear why this association between earlier introduction of high-risk foods and less allergies to these foods exists.  An early introduction may generate immune tolerance, or the increased dietary diversity may provide a protective effect as a by-product. More research is currently being conducted on this new notion of introducing allergenic foods early in a child’s life.

Based on this information please do not make any major changes to your child’s diet. If you have any concerns about your child and food allergies, please consult your primary care doctor or an allergist.

To read more about the article published in Time magazine, click here.

To read more about the article published in JAMA, click here.