Food Allergies are 95% mental

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by miles01110, May 13, 2010.

  1. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    ...not really. But it seems the science of determining food allergies still has a long way to go.

    When I was younger I was told I was allergic to peanuts. By channeling my mental powers I overcame this "allergy" and happily much on peanut products on a semi-daily basis. Hah!
  2. sanPietro98 macrumors 6502a


    May 30, 2008
    So a study commissioned by the federal government criticizes other studies either directly or indirectly funded by the federal government. I'm now looking forward to the federal congressional investigation that spawns another federal study to study why the study was flawed.

    This is why junk science has become the norm.
  3. iOrlando macrumors 68000

    Jul 20, 2008
    i will say good luck to anyone who tries to get a food allergy diagnosed. Most likely you will never be able to find out the exact allergy source since a doctor knows squat about trying to find it - partly due to the overall inability to defiantly find a cause and be 100% sure of it. I am not talking about peanut allergies or something obvious, but allergies to specific components of certain food ingredients like types of preservatives or food sweeteners.

    i didnt read the article but I do believe that some allergic reactions are caused by your mind. What I mean by that is if you are in a stressed position, I think you are in a more likely situation to experience a bad case of the allergic reaction. You still have the allergy and always have the allergy but that would explain why many people say they only get a allergic reaction to something at random times and not every time.
  4. emt1 macrumors 65816

    Jan 30, 2008
    Even though you said "not really", what a stupid title. Anaphylaxis is potentially life-threatening. Even if that response was somehow all "mental", it still is what it is. Just like any other "mental" condition out there. Just because a symptom/complaint is "mental", that doesn't reduce its validity or the need to treat it as you would anything else.
  5. flopticalcube macrumors G4


    Sep 7, 2006
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat

    My son has or at least had an allergy to blue food colouring. Twice I saw his lips swell and his face discolour. He was prescribed an Epi-pen just in case. On the third occasion, he mistakenly ate a blue candy Easter egg and got only a mild reaction. While I'm glad to see him out grow the allergy, I can't see how it was a mental and not a physiological problem.
  6. emt1 macrumors 65816

    Jan 30, 2008
    Just to clarify on my last post, food allergies are not mental. They are purely physiological responses. You can't "learn" to not be allergic. I was merely commenting on the stupidity of the thought that food allergies were in any way psychological in nature.
  7. pooky macrumors 6502

    Jun 2, 2003
    While true anapylaxis is obviously physiological, what people are missing is that food allergies are overdiagnosed. Many things can contribute to symptoms that resemble MILD allergies - things like stomach problems, hyperventilating, runny eyes, swelling, etc. These can be purely mental, or can be caused by other physical problems.

    Now imagine a scenario - you eat something that your doctor believes causes allergies. You also encounter something else in the environment at the same time that causes some weird, temporary symptom, leading to the false diagnosis of a food allergy. Now you have that in your brain, so of course you are going to have some symptoms every time you encounter that food.

    So yes, simply imagining you have an allergy will not cause anapylaxis. However, most genuine food allergies don't cause it either, and instead result in much milder symptoms, which can also be triggered by the anxiety of thinking you are allergic.

    So chill out, no one is saying that allergies aren't real or aren't dangerous, just that they are overdiagnosed, especially in borderline cases.
  8. .Andy macrumors 68030


    Jul 18, 2004
    The Mergui Archipelago
    This isn't how food allergy is (or should be) diagnosed. There are numerous tests that one can do to try and be more objective. From looking at antibodies to a specific food, to biochemical markers, to doing skin prick testing, to doing a trial of cutting out a specific foodstuff, to doing a food challenge in a clinical setting. Each of these varies with their sensitivity and specificity however. A doctor would very rarely diagnose food allergy from a single occurrence such as your example for the exact reason you give. They might suggest that you forgo a food if you think that's what caused the reaction (presuming it's not an important nutritional source). They can do this because it's a fairly mild intervention and could easily be argued that it's got far less morbidity and cost than testing, especially when we're talking about mild reactions.

    I agree with this though. Food allergy is quite trendy and people will often self-diagnose and/or overstate their symptoms. For some reason people like to be sensitive. It's like moisturising creams. It's good marketing to say the handcream is for sensitive skin and hypoallergenic. One would very rarely buy a cream for normal skin.
  9. mizzouxc macrumors member

    Apr 12, 2010
    Food Allergies mental?

    Tell that to my toilet after I consume MSG.
  10. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    I believe I am mildly allergic to eggplants, macadamia nuts, and raw carrots and celery. Nobody has told me such, or tested me for it, but over the years I have noticed a simple cause-effect correlation: when I eat those items, my lips or the "inside" of my throat begin to itch. One could argue that there is some subconscious mental stuff going on now that I am aware of these beliefs, but that doesn't account for the fact that it was happening in the first place.

    On the other hand, I had a childhood friend whose mother thought it would be clever to use random allergies as a discipline technique. ("No, you can't eat all that candy because... you're allergic! You're allergic to candy! Stay away from the candy!") The guy's got serious issues now. Mental? Absolutely.
  11. andiwm2003 macrumors 601


    Mar 29, 2004
    Boston, MA
    Depends mostly on the definition of "allergy".

    For the sake of simplicity a lot of people lump a lot of syndromes of intolerance into the same group as "allergy" because it's so much easier to tell the waitress in a restaurant you have an allergy.

    To claim then that people who have some sort of problem after eating certain things are simply "mental" is stupid. Their symptoms exist even if it's not really a standard histamine mediated allergy.

    I don't really see the point in this study. Typical waste of time and money and unjustified media attention. Somebody found that most food allergies do not fit the exact definition of a histamine mediated allergy. That was well known before as well as the fact that the diagnostic tests are very problematic.
  12. nastebu macrumors 6502

    May 5, 2008
    People, read the article before getting angry and writing a long defensive post. As pooky summarized, the argument is not that food allergies don't exist, but that they are way overdiagnosed, in part because the tests are unreliable and often not administered correctly.

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