Peanut allergy is not the same as a tree nut allergy since they're not really nuts at all. They are, in fact, a legume and grow on roots underneath the soil. They are closely related to other legumes such as black beans, garbanzo beans or chickpeas, pinto beans, kidney beans and soybeans (to name a few).
Peanut allergy is on the rise in the United States which some experts say is due to the popularity of this high protein, high fiber food. Americans eat about 3 pounds of peanut butter per person each year, totaling about 500 million pounds. And that's just peanut butter!
People with this type of allergy are often very sensitive and reactions are frequently severe. This is because the proteins in peanuts are very stable meaning they stay intact through cooking and baking. People can have reactions to the smallest amount of peanut protein including inhaling tiny particles floating in the air or touching the protein.
Of all food allergies, this one is least likely to be outgrown with only 20-25% of patients doing so. Given that statistic, it is important to be comfortable managing a peanut allergy. Below you can find ingredients and foods that may contain peanuts and ideas for peanut substitutes.
Following is a list of some ingredients to watch for on labels that may contain peanut protein. If you are unsure about an ingredient on a food label, check with your dietitian or doctor.
Baked Goods - doughnuts, pastries, breads, muffins, cookies, anything in a bakery that uses peanuts could be cross-contaminated with peanut protein
Chocolate - candy bars, chocolate chips (many may contain peanut traces)
Candy - nougat, many candies may contain peanut traces
Snacks - crackers, granola, rice cakes, caramel corn, snack mixes
Sauces - peanut can be used as a thickener, satay sauces, pesto
Asian Food - stir fry, sauces, egg rolls
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