What is a potential consequence of food allergies or food sensitivities for people with diabetes?

Food allergies also cause cells to swell, leading to insulin resistance. This process, called edema, is a common diabetic-type response. Food allergies and intolerances can cause insulin resistance. Eating certain foods causes inflammation and disrupts insulin production and other body processes.

Food allergies complicate the way a diabetic responds to treatment, whether insulin-dependent or non-insulin-dependent. Because diabetes is a metabolic disorder, complications caused by food allergies can make diabetes more difficult to control. A true food allergy affects the immune system. Even small amounts of the causative food can trigger a variety of symptoms, which can be serious or life-threatening.

In contrast, food intolerance often affects only the digestive system and causes less severe symptoms. An allergic reaction to food occurs when the immune system attacks a dietary protein that it mistakes as a threat to the body. Symptoms may include itching or swelling of the mouth, throat, face, or skin; difficulty breathing; and stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting. A severe food allergy can be life-threatening.

In some cases, the allergist will recommend an oral food test, which is considered the most accurate way to diagnose a food allergy. A food allergic reaction occurs when the immune system overreacts to a food or substance in a food, identifying it as a hazard and triggering a protective response. Current research is looking for ways to reduce sensitivity to food allergies, and there is a lot of hope for finding therapies that control food allergies in the future. Food Allergy Research %26 Education estimates that one in 13 children has food allergies, or two children in each classroom.

For people with autoimmune diabetes, who want to control their symptoms more effectively, food allergy and food sensitivity testing is a must. The only way to prevent a food allergic reaction is to completely avoid the food and any product that may contain it as an ingredient. Food intolerance does not activate the immune system and is not life-threatening, nor is it the same as a food allergy, although it can share similar symptoms, such as diarrhea and stomach pain. If you do the test, it should only be done with the food you have had a reaction to and not with other “common” foods.

Delaying the introduction of solid foods beyond 4 to 6 months of age does not appear to provide significant protection against the development of food allergies. Because of the possibility of a serious reaction, oral exposure to food should only be performed by experienced allergists in a doctor's office or dietary treatment center, with medications and emergency equipment on hand. Food allergies are caused by the immune system in the intestine or bloodstream becoming reactive to proteins in food. Food allergy increased the risk of STZ-induced diabetes in mice, which promoted damage to the jejunum barrier induced by food allergens and direct absorption by dendritic cells, induced mast cell activation, increased the secretion of IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, MMCP-1 and TNF-α, reduced GLP-1 secretion in the jejunum and decreased insulin secretion in the pancreas.

In fact, recent research suggests that delaying the introduction of potentially allergenic foods may even increase the risk of food allergy. Sometimes an adult may go unnoticed an allergic reaction to a food because symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea can be mistaken for those of the flu or food poisoning. At this time, there is not enough evidence to recommend other dietary interventions, such as avoiding certain foods (such as fish, eggs, or peanuts) by mothers during pregnancy or breastfeeding to protect against the development of food allergies. If you have a food intolerance, your doctor may recommend measures to facilitate the digestion of certain foods or to treat the underlying condition that is causing the reaction.


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