South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition

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Nutritional implications of food allergies

H Steinman


Food allergy is becoming an increasing problem worldwide, with an estimated 6–8% of children affected at some point in their childhood. It is important to recognise that the nutritional implications encompass not only the elimination of essential food(s) from the diet (and the consequent attendant lack of energy, protein or other macro or micro constituents, including vitamins), but that undiagnosed or poorly managed conditions such as severe hayfever or asthma may result in decreased activity, and/or increased or decreased food intake, which in turn may cause either negative effects on growth, or obesity. Clinical awareness is required among health professionals as to the clinical characteristics, epidemiology, investigation, and management of food allergic disorders, as is the inclusion of a dietitian as part of the allergy team. Good dietary intervention in children (and adults) with single or multiple food allergies should be seen as an integral part of the allergy consultation.
It remains an essential part of holistic care.
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