Okay, we’re gonna talk about it. The so called “diet trends.” The fact that we still have diet trends scares me, but that’s our society, always wanting quick fixes, yes?
Today’s food trends seem to be focused around allergies, the top 5 being gluten, soy, dairy, nuts, and eggs. Now, don’t get me wrong, I totally believe that many of us have an allergy or intolerance to one or more of these foods, but what many consumers don’t understand is that the term “allergy friendly” is not necessarily healthy. Heck, my gluten free (allergy friendly) Pillsbury mini pies and homemade Yo-Yo’s were far from healthy. Tasty, yes! And we still need to enjoy those treats from time to time.
So while allergy friendly is a GOOD thing, we also must examine the REAL purpose of it.
The FDA requires every company to state allergens on their ingredient list. These are for the individuals (especially kids) that have a SEVERE allergy. Like PEANUTS, GLUTEN, etc.
- CONTAINS [ALLERGEN(S)] – The allergen is present in the ingredients of the product.
- PRODUCED IN A FACILITY THAT PROCESSES [ALLERGEN(S)] – The allergen is not in the ingredients, but it is present in the facility. Manufacturers use Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) to keep allergens separate from non-allergenic ingredients. GMPs include (but are not limited to): thoroughly cleaning machinery between processing runs and the use of scheduling to segregate ingredients. However, even with GMPs in place, if there is an allergen in the facility, there is always a small chance it could end up in the finished product.
- MAY CONTAIN [ALLERGEN(S)] – The allergen is not in the ingredients but even with GMPs in place cross contamination is unavoidable at some point in the manufacturing process. We advise customers with an allergy to NOT consume products that “MAY CONTAIN” their allergen. You’ll see “MAY CONTAIN” statement on many chocolate products and dry baking mixes because there is an inherent risk of cross-contamination for those types of products
Some brands will emphasize a “allergy free” label on the front.
Immediately the consumer will either
A) be attracted to it because they have to avoid that allergy.
B) think that avoiding this allergy will help them lose weight.
Unfortunately, too many consumers are believing B. Avoiding a certain food will not make you lose weight in the long run. And in fact, some of us need those certain foods for nourishment.
So where does that leave us?
We need to know why we’re avoiding a certain food allergy. And we need to read and understand the INGREDIENT list.
- Have you been tested for Food allergies?
- Have you done an elimination diet? If so, You might need to avoid these foods temporarily to find out what foods you are reacting to or not reacting to.
- What’s on the ingredient list? Is the product substituting an allergy ingredient with another potential allergy?
- Read the nutrition label. Are they adding in more sugar to replace taste?
- Is a natural product? If so, it should be free of a lot of allergens, no added ingredients.
We need to be aware of allergies in food, not use them as another “diet trend.” Gluten free (to me) is not a diet trend, it’s a lifestyle. Finding out what makes you FEEL your best is key. Am I right?!
And speaking of feeling your best, here are a few new allergy friendly food finds and brands that FIT perfectly into my LIFESTYLE.
Three Bakers Gluten Free bread (Whole Grain Rye is my favorite). It’s also soy free, nut free, and dairy free. They may be small pieces but very dense and packed with great RYE flavor! Perfect with Applegate Farms deli meats, which are always gluten free and preservative free. I also tried their GF whole grains hoagie rolls, which toasted up nicely. In fact, I used them at a garlic bread stick for last night’s dinner. Ha, even better!
New ENJOY LIFE FOODS decadent bars. I love enjoy because they are a company dedicated to make foods free of the common allergies. YEP! ALL OF THEM!
My favorite flavor was the chocolate sun butter.
Chia pod. Oh this is a fun new snack! Chia, fruit, and coconut milk in a pod. Allergy friendly for sure! Plus simple ingredients, good source of fiber, protein, and rich in omegas. AWESOME as an GF oatmeal topping!
New Low grown Foods SUPER oats. Yes, I mentioned them before, but I forgot to mention they have NUT free too. And I love that they are always gluten free. Gah, so good! Be on the look out for them online starting in September. Tons of giveaways will be happening too!
I also ordered these, which should get here tomorrow. I’ll let you know how they are! Love the simple ingredients.
So there you have it, some tasty Allergy Friendly foods!
And some interesting articles on food allergies, just for extra reading!
- How to cure lactose intolerance
- Setting an Allergen-Free Table
- Consumer Trends: Chefs Take On Food Allergies
- GF Community- Come share any NEW and Improved Allergy Friendly Foods.
Do you eat certain allergy friendly foods? If so, share your favorite and why!
Do you think our society is misusing the allergy friendly label? Seeing it as weight loss and/or diet trend?
Don’t think to hard now. It is Friday!
I have a latex fruit allergy and had to do an elimination diet last year… it was a pain! First I had to stop eating dairy (which wasn’t too bad since I am lactose intolerant and all) but that wasn’t it.. then gluten, which I thought was the hardest. Honestly, when the tests came back that I wasn’t allergic to gluten I was thrilled lol my friend is allergic to gluten and I know how much pain she went thru so I can’t understand why some people do it just for the whole weight loss idea
oh this was fun! those waffles look super interesting except for the fact that who the heck eats half a waffle!
LOL! i agree. they are good but i need a whole one!
Ah thank you for this!! I’ve been lactose intolerant for yrs, &in the past year have realized I seem to be reacting to gluten as well:/ For anyone who may be rdg this- if you get a seemingly random onset of a super hot, red face, with a tight feeling up to your ears, might I suggest looking for an issue w food! When I avoid gluten, I don’t have this problem. It really irritates me when ppl think trying to lose weight or be “extra healthy”! Nope, just trying to avoid GI discomfort&a feverish face! I loved bread&whole wheat stuff…if you aren’t reacting, continue eating it!
amen amen! Hope someone reads this comment Michelle. Thanks for sharing!
it is even crazy that some people think when something is labeled organic or natural – can be healthy, even some of those “products” can not always be a wise option. for instance, seeing people think just because they eat at wholefoods they are being healthy. it is about finding foods that work for your body, not worrying too much about labels.
Erika @ fortheloveofpeanutbutter
Trending diets really spark a fire within me! It makes me cringe when I’m at work (I’m a waitress) and someone says something like, “I’ll have my burger on a GF bun, I’m trying to be healthy today.” LKSDNGMLEFLSKJDG. <—-I think that explains what's going through my head quite well.
Also, I had a class with a girl who has celiacs and she said that ever since a GF diet starting trending, she gained weight because all of a sudden, everything can be found GF. You can have GF cookies, cake, brownies, pizza, etc. Just because something is GF doesn't mean it's healthy. It CAN be healthy, but just because something screams GF doesn't mean it screams "clean eats". Loveeeee the post 🙂
girl!!! you read my very thought. UGH.. I kinda wish we didn’t have so many GF options now, well… junk food options. LOL!
Brittany @ Delights and Delectables
Allergy friendly foods have saved my life! lol. No really, I am so thankful that they put these labels on there. However, I do think that people jump on the bandwagon too often. If I could eat whatever I wanted- I so would! lol. BTW. I miss you! 😉
yes, you use those labels wisely! talk soon?! this week?
The Candid RD
Now that I work with students who have food allergies, app recommendations like this one (AllergyEats) call out my name! I really wish that “gluten” was considered an allergen on labels (maybe one day?) and I also with that manufacturers were REQUIRED to make those “may contain” statements, but they aren’t. It’s a bummer.
i know, such a bummer. gluten will be on there some day. I hope
Annie @ the Annie hall
As a med student, I sometimes get SO ANNOYED when people follow certain diets because its trendy.
However, I do think its kind of nice that those with REAL allergies get to have more food products available to them with the trendiness.
so true, it goes both ways.
well said, my friend! I’m with you on all this stuff 🙂
oh i know you are! Maybe it’s a little less trendy in Canada?
you’d think it would be, seeing as we have less options for GF/allergy friendly foods than the usa does. But it’s just as popular- almost more so, as people start comparing where and how much the products cost and how to get their hands on the “best” allergy products.
I can’t say I mind as someone who doesn’t have a choice about eating like this, all these options becuase of the popularity is making my food choices MUCH more fun! haha
p.s. I talked to my local health food store and he is on a mission to bring Nuttzo to the store!!! YAY!
jenn @ runnderlust
eating a diet that is for people with specific allergies is actually detrimental to your health because they are often lacking nutrients that you get from those types of foods that you are eliminating. a gluten-free diet comes to mind because all the nutrients you are cutting out from not eating grains but not compensating to make sure you get those nutrients.
yes, I totally agree jen! well said!
Kath (My Funny Little Life)
Thank you for this post! Very informative and good to read! 🙂
I actually don’t buy much stuff labeled allergy-friendly because I make most things from scratch. So I rather buy things that are naturally vegan and gluten-free, like brown rice and legumes. We do have puffed corn and rice cakes, dark chocolate, and hard candy in the house though, and with those I always read the labels.
and i am sure yours tastes MUCH better. Homemade is always best. xxoo
Gina @ Health, Love, and Chocolate
Great post, it definitely raises a few things worth talking about. I feel like for some, allergies and intolerances are becoming like just another fad diet. It’s hard to walk in a store and find something not labelled “-free”.
i know! and I’m wondering what’s going to be the next fad.
GiGi Eats Celebrities
Since I can barely eat anything to begin with, I typically steer clear of all packaged foods even if they’re allergen-free. They always contain SOMETHING that I cannot have… So I just make things from scratch… Or just go for the simple things! 😉
Gigi eats are always better anyway!
I totally agree with you on “B.” Most people today are reaching for the gluten/dairy/soy free foods because they think it will help them loose weight. You can totally tell it is a trend when the Fruity Pebbles box slaps a “Gluten Free” symbol on the box. I mean c’mon. But in some people’s minds that makes it healthy. I think people need to be educated about what a balanced diet is and also be in tune with their bodies (as in how you feel after you eat, when you poop etc.) but most people who are dieting to loose weight quick or get the quick fix as you said aren’t slowing down enough to listen to their bodies. There are real allergies out there (also a growing trend among young children/infants…which is kinda scary), but the trend is kind of dangerous and makes of light of people who have serious issues.
oh yes, the fruity pebbles GF HEALTHY cereal. LOL! I am glad they are GF but it’s just a tease to those who think it’s healthy. Agreed.
PREACH it. A-men.
Such a great post. I feel like everyone is trying GF now and they’re not doing it healthily!! I really try to avoid GF foods except for breads and pasta. I mostly eat meat, veggies, fruit, rice, potatoes, etc.; things that are NATURALLY GF.
Heather @Better With Veggies
I’m so naive sometimes – I didn’t make the connection between allergy friendly & weight loss. I just thought people were reducing allergy-promoting foods, which I do at times. We eat so out of balance with a healthy diet, I think it’s often a good thing. And I like the labels since it makes it easier for me to avoid dairy. 🙂
Love this post friend! debunking such a huge myth. It’s akin to the latest ‘fad’ – gluten free (as a diet, not an intolerance), paleo etc – so easy for people to jump on the bandwagon and think its a weight loss thing when it’s really not. And for those that are gluten free and for reason such as allergy or celiac, I can imagine how frustrating it can be to see people do this and also to see companies market these products that way (misleading). And I want to try that chia pod!!
Awesome post my friend!
I definitely think this term is thrown around so loosely for people to avoid certain foods, I mean I did it in the past with my ED. And I feel pretty terrible for doing it, since I totally undermined other peoples severe allergies.
And I know a lot of people who do this and it slightly irritates me now, but hey, it’s there choice to “choose” an allergy so I guess they have to live with that, and it really has nothing to do with me. Okay, went too long on that note haha.
I do think labelling can be misleading, but I understand there are two sides to it, right.
Ah, I have some slight allergies to food and a lot of intolerances, but nothing super severe that I could die from or anything like that. My whole family is just allergy infested it seems 😉
haha, i love your comments. Exactly my thought process Lisa!
p.s. How are you allergies? any better?
Truth —-> B) think that avoiding this allergy will help them lose weight.
Manufacturers are slapping buzz words on anything to get it to sell and they KNOW that health is not what the average consumer has in mind, but feel like it connotes weight loss too.
Allergen friendly, peanut free, gluten-free. essential fatty acids, “made with whole grain,” “all natural,” and even “rice” and “kale”. Yes. Rice. Kale. <— LOl! but true I am just waiting for Tostitos to come out with a a Rice, Kale and Spinach chip. Which, of course will contain corn and also not be gluten free.
Great that there are legit products out there targeted at the right audience but it is so misleading when Big Food slaps these misleading terms on things just to market their (less than healthy) product.
oh you nailed it, BUZZ WORD! Kale in dorritos? This i gotta see. I bet it will happen. Right after the goji berry twinkie
Sarah @ Fit Betty
My family is digestively dysfunctional: my kids have nut allergies (my daughter is allergic to eggs and dairy too). I have IBS and can’t eat so many foods it’s unreal and too long to list. I am attracted to foods that are labeled gluten-free, vegan, etc. because of allergies, but I still always have to read labels.
There a two sides to the case I think: some companies take advantage of consumers through marketing, and on the other hand great companies who are responding to the growing need for allergy friendly food (I LOVE Enjoy Life foods, too! Great company).
There are people who think that doing a “diet” like this will help them lose weight, which won’t work if they can’t change the underlying behavior in the end. Going gluten-free is never a bad thing, though, if people cut the processed stuff first. 🙂
YES YES! Totally two sides. I completely agree. And I think consumers need to be educated on WHY these foods are allergy friendly. Understanding that GF can still be a processed food, ya know?
This trend is SO terrible because people who actually HAVE food allergies are being duped into thinking things are “allergy-free” when, in fact, they are not. I look for the obvious things, but with some of my allergens being used as food additives, I’ve been duped a few times.
Also, the bigger issue for me is that stores are now stocking these “allergy-friendly” things that use ingredients that I’m allergic to, instead of just using regular ingredients that I can have.
which brings me back to the phrase.. “Keep it simple.”
Heck yes, these labels are completely misused/misunderstood! What I really don’t understand is why people would want to eliminate allergens from their diet if they can tolerate them. Healthy, NATURAL, clean and simple foods don’t make you gain weight, people! Just eat them in the right portions! I am so jealous of those who can eat gluten without a second thought. I am still able to eat those foods which “may contain gluten” most of the time, as long as it’s in moderation and just on occasion. And trust me, I take full advantage of that!
pretty sure we have the same mind and stomach.
Beth @ Miles and Trials
I have chosen to go gluten free, not because I have Celiac, and I don’t even think I have an intolerance, but I have come across research that says it may be helpful for people with MS in reducing internal inflammation. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to keep my illness as dormant as possible. Thanks for the new product ideas, I always find things to add to my must-buy list!
you are doing what’s BEST for you and your health. Way to go beth!
Danica @ It's Progression
I absolutely think our society misuses this concept. I think the biggest one if gluten, too. Many people think that by avoiding gluten they’ll be healthier and/or skinnier, which drives me crazy. Some celebrities that praise a gluten-free diet certainly don’t help this mindset. As far as I know, I don’t have any sort of gluten intolerance, but I can imagine for that those who do, doesn’t it get annoying when people are adamant about it even though they don’t have a real reason to?
oh don’t get me started on the whole celebrity thing. OYE!
Jody - Fit at 55
GREAT POST Lindsay!! A ton of info for people to read, decipher & figure out what is best for them!
I don’t have too many issues except dairy so … but I think it is good to be aware.. now as for companies, I think they will use anything for sales! 😉 We just have to be diligent & do our homework before buying to be sure it is a good company! Thx for all the info! The new finds look awesome!
I do think there are some labels that are being used as more of a diet/trend than the actual reason it was intended. I think that changing ones nutrition habits and maybe removing certain things from your diet for a health reason is good but I feel like more and more people are doing it because they think it will help them lose weight. I eat quite a bit of gluten free products (and plenty that are NOT gluten free) but simply because I like the product or the fact that switching to gluten free pasta made me feel less “blah full” then regular pasta.
Basically, if something makes you feel better or worse, then pay attention to that. If that means gluten free, or dairy free or whatever- do what YOU need to do and not what you think will make you more desirable or accepted by society.
You are a wonderful role model for nutrition, I admire that 🙂
amen amen! well said Laura!
I’m so glad you addressed this topic! I do think society is overboard in this regard–especially GF. If I had a dime for every person I have heard say they are going GF, even without any testing or real research into why it might help them…and I’d bet that people like you with the real deal would say life could be easier if you could eat gluten, no?
I do think people look at these diets as a method for weight loss, which of course, is the big driver on the trend!
Heather (Where's the Beach)
Great post friend. I see and hear so many people talking about going GF and it’s almost nothing to do with really being intolerant at all. They honestly think they’re going to lose weight by dropping the gluten. Some I hear say they want to try b/c they hear it can reduce inflammation and such, so that makes me happier. It’s more about trying it to do something better for their body. And the same goes with vegetarian, vegan, raw, all of that, making it a “diet” in the sense of weight loss not diet as in how they eat as a lifestyle.
Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat
This was a great post Lindsay! Food allergies is definitely a huge thing in our society right now. For the longest time I had to completely avoid anything that contain dairy products. Most recently, I can cheat a bit and add small amounts into my diet without getting sick. I just can’t overdo it! But, it definitely has been helpful that everything has labels on it now, but I’m still mindful of the food products I buy because you’re so right…just because it’s labeled as dairy free, gluten free, etc. doesn’t necessarily make it healthy.
What a great topic – I have wondered about all of this for a long time. Our family is very fortunate that we don’t have any food allergies or intolerances. I feel like Amanda (Running with Spoons) – people who think that going GF is a fad or quick diet fix is something I don’t understand. I feel like we are just creating this whole generation of people that won’t be able to tolerate gluten because they never have it.
Tiff @ Love Sweat & Beers
Ooooh yes! I think the gluten thing is seriously over-done. Sorry Lindsay, but gluten is delicious, and I’m not avoiding it if I don’t have to! haha (You know I love my beer.)
I find that everything has a label these days! Lots of trending of this and that…me? I just eat what my body loves. I’m still learning but at least I’m conscious of my own body’s needs 🙂
Great post! Allergies are something I want to know more about so thanks! I get annoyed with people self diagnosing and avoiding foods Bc they think its the cool thing to do. I love Pb and will continue on with my addiction.
Laura @ Mommy Run Fast
Great topic! It really frustrates me how anything can be turned around in marketing… just like all the cookies and packaged goodies now claiming “no trans fat!” or “no high fructose corn syrup!” as if they are suddenly a health food. 🙂
Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table
YES that label is misused by companies and consumers alike. The biggest one (I think) is GF. Why do people think GF = health food? Or vegan? Think, people! Read labels. UGH!!!!
Liz @ I Heart Vegetables
It’s a shame that brands are using allergy information to make people think it’s better for them. I keep telling people, if you’re not gluten intolerant, don’t try to eat GF! A lot of times you’ll end up gaining weight!
I absolutely agree that people us the excuse of an allergy to cut out whole food groups. I think it is silly, because our bodies need a balanced diet and if you are not severely allergic to something, why cut it out? I haven’t any allergies, but I did laxative abuse for a felt 1000 years and my digestive system is in the beginning of a long recovery. I realized that grains bloat me more, so I try to avoid them, but I am not living glutenfree because all I have is a sensitivity and not an allergy.
Chelsea @ Chelsea's Healthy Kitchen
I have a nut allergy, but I actually had NO idea that products that have the label “Produced in a facility that processes (allergens)” actually make efforts to keep the allergens separate. My whole life I’ve been avoiding those products, but it sounds like I’d actually probably be safe to eat them. That makes me so excited!
I love those Enjoy Life Decadent Bars – the chocolate Sunbutter one is my favourite too! Also I really enjoy Giddy YoYo chocolate bars, which are totally dairy/egg/gluten/nut/soy free.
Hold up though, there are nut-free Love Grown Super Oats?! Which kinds??
the new super oats is made with chia and amaranth. Can you have chia?
Chelsea @ Chelsea's Healthy Kitchen
I can! 😀
Linz @ Itz Linz
i definitely think people misuse the allergy labels…. i don’t like “allergy friendly” foods that are packed with artificial junk – i like foods that are naturally allergy friendly like the products you have written about!
YES YES YES
TOTALLY WHY I was gf for 20 years and only mentioned in on my blog a few years ago.
I want to try the pods!
Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine
I have Celiac Disease and a severe soy allergy. But I also eat egg and dairy free (for ethical reasons).
I think that allergy labeling is definitely being misused and very misleading. Soon they will be labeling apples as “gluten-free”!
not gonna lie, i just saw a banana labled gluten free. HA!
Amanda @ .running with spoons.
The gluten thing is something that’s been bothering me for a while. I know a lot of people who avoid gluten because they think it’ll help them lose weight when they don’t even have a legitimate intolerance/allergy. And I can’t help but look at them and think… you have no idea how much people who DO have an actual allergy are hating on you right now because you choose to make your diet more complicated when those people wish they didn’t have to avoid certain foods. I have a really severe allergy to peanuts, so seeing the peanut-freel label makes my heart do all sorts of silly happy dances.
peanut allergy is was serious. I would be giddy too if i saw that label and had your allergy. And if someone really does have a gluten intolerance or celiac, they should gain weight back after going GF. It means they are absorbing their nutrients and the vili in the GI is flourishing. Well, this is true for most celiacs. That’s why i hate it when people want to lose weight on it. oh sheeesh. Okay, venting. Whoops.