Delaying solid food could be increasing chances of allergies

Tuesday 16th March 2010

Following recent news that by delaying a child’s intake of solid food their chance of developing certain allergies could be decreased; scientists are now warning that this could be counterproductive. This news also comes after a survey that showed being a little bit dirty could also decrease the chance of allergies; pointing towards the fact that prevention isn’t always the cure. It appears that by trying to eradicate allergies we are only heightening them and should instead be building our immune systems from an early age to make ourselves less susceptible to allergies.

Whilst there was thought to be evidence that the late introduction of solid food into an infants diet could prevent allergies, scientist, Dr. Nwaru suggests that there isn’t enough evidence to prove so and in certain foods it could increase the chance of susceptibility. He also added the concern that if a child’s parent has an allergy themselves, they will delay the introduction of solid foods which could consequently “mask” an important timing relationship that is thought to occur between allergies and the introduction of food. They investigated their concerns on nearly 1000 children who had followed a strict regime with their food for a diabetes prevention scheme. Interestingly, the results showed that by the age of five nearly 20% had a food allergy with a further 20% being sensitized to certain inhaled allergens. This relationship was shown to be the strongest with eggs, oats and wheat with late introduction of fish and potatoes increasing the risk of sensitivity to inhaled allergens.

Dr. Nwaru also adds that exclusively breastfeeding a child for six months cannot be proven effective in all cases. He neither recommends nor discourages the use of breastfeeding for six months but offers advice that by merely adopting breastfeeding as the sole food for your baby doesn’t prevent the development of allergies. Therefore, it would be recommended not to be influenced by recent studies until it is clearer what the actual case is regarding food allergies and their prevention. One thing that does appear quite clear is the necessity to continue with life as normal; by changing things you’ve always done you may only counter-product what you were trying to achieve in the first place.

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