What are some common mistakes people make with their diet?

I know mine has been drinking too much soft drinks and eating at fast food restaurants.

Posted Answers


Eating foods that they are allergic to. People are usually allergic to foods that they crave because that food gives them a psychological high.

Food allergies: Food labels list top 8 allergens
Food labels list the top eight food allergens to help you avoid an allergic reaction.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires food manufacturers to list common food allergens on food labels in simple terms that adults and older children can understand. Common allergens are listed either in the ingredients list, after the list, or right next to it. The labeling requirements are designed to reduce your chances of an accidental allergic reaction to a food.

Revised in January of 2006, the updated food label takes some of the guesswork out of label reading, helping you easily identify foods that could cause an allergic reaction. For example, most people mistakenly believe that nondairy means that there is no milk in a product. Before the label guidelines were revised, the use of "nondairy" was allowed even when the foods contained milk byproducts. If a product contains casein, a milk-derived protein, the product's label now lists the term "milk" in parenthesis after the term "casein." Or, the label will simply state "Contains milk." This simple approach is especially helpful for kids with food allergies who may be choosing their own snacks.

The food allergens
While food labels don't include every possible allergen, they do list the top eight, which account for 90 percent of all documented food allergies:

Tree nuts (such as almonds, cashews, walnuts)
Fish (such as bass, cod, flounder)
Shellfish (such as crab, lobster, shrimp)
This list also represents the foods most likely to cause a severe or life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis).

Allergens and food labels
Here are answers to a few common questions about food label requirements.

What foods are labeled? Any domestic or imported packaged food regulated by the FDA is required to make these labeling changes.
What's included on the label? The label lists the type of allergen — for example, the type of tree nut (almond, walnut) or the type of crustacean shellfish (crab, shrimp) — as well as any ingredient that contains a protein from the eight major food allergens. The labels also include any allergens found in flavorings, colorings or other additives.
What foods aren't labeled? Fresh produce, fresh meat and certain highly refined oils do not require listing of potential food allergens on the labels. Foods that may inadvertently come into contact with a food allergen during the growing, harvesting or manufacturing process also are exempt.
In addition to the current food labeling changes, the FDA is working to tighten regulations for manufacturers' use of the term "gluten free" on food labels. Gluten is a protein that occurs in grains such as wheat, barley and rye. This protein can cause a serious reaction (though not an allergic one) in people who have celiac disease, a digestive disorder. About 2 million people in the United States have the disease. Often people with celiac disease are unsure about which foods contain gluten. The FDA will issue standards for what constitutes a gluten-free product by 2008.

What this means for you
"If you have a food allergy, the new labeling should help you avoid exposure to even small amounts of a food allergen, something you haven't been able to do before," says James Li, M.D., an asthma and allergy specialist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

If you think you have a food allergy, but haven't been tested, see your doctor. Without specific testing, you won't know whether or how much or how little exposure might trigger a serious allergic reaction.

"Not all people with food allergies are at significant risk when exposed to very small quantities of food," says Dr. Li. "Work closely with your doctor to develop a personalized plan to reduce your risk of inadvertent exposure to the food you're allergic to."

Labels reveal the details
Although the new food-labeling law helps you make safe choices, it might also raise your eyebrows. The law requires food allergens to be identified even in the smallest amounts. As a result, you might notice some surprising ingredients on food labels, such as soy lecithin used as a nonstick agent for baked goods or fish gelatin used in coloring for soup broth.

Food allergen awareness: A refresher
If you have a food allergy, follow these steps to increase your chances of avoiding an allergic reaction:

Practice prevention. Always know what you're eating and drinking. The best way to prevent an allergic reaction is to avoid foods that cause allergy signs and symptoms.
Know about hidden food allergens. Some food allergens may be well hidden when used as ingredients in certain dishes. This is especially true in restaurants and other social settings, such as church or neighborhood gatherings or homemade foods brought into the workplace.
Be proactive when dining out. There's more to preventing an allergic reaction than just avoiding food choices based on a restaurant's menu description. You'll need to ask specific questions about ingredients and how each dish is prepared.
Read and reread. Even though a food product may have been safe the last time you purchased or consumed it, it's possible that the ingredients have changed or the label has been updated. If you have a food allergy, be sure to always read food labels.
Identify your allergy. Wear a medical alert bracelet that describes your allergy and carry an alert card in your wallet or purse. These items are available over-the-counter at most drugstores and can be purchased on the Internet.
Prepare to counteract a reaction. Talk with your doctor about whether you should carry an emergency medication in case of an allergic reaction.

 Answer by email

Share this with your friends