Ready, Set, Food! introduces the three most common allergy-causing foods in children: peanut, egg, and milk. Learn why we focus on these three foods, and why we don’t include other allergy-causing foods like tree nuts and shellfish.
What you’ll learn in this article:
- The top 3 food allergies found in children are milk, egg, and peanut. Milk, egg, and peanut alone are responsible for over 80% of childhood food allergies.
- Milk and egg are very difficult to avoid, therefore milk and/or egg allergy can cause a significant impact to a child’s quality of life.
- Peanut allergies most often cause severe or fatal allergic reactions
- Landmark studies focus on peanut, egg, and milk for best results at early allergen introduction.
The Most Common Food Allergies in Children: Milk, Egg, Peanut
The FDA classifies 8 foods as the most common food allergens in the US. Those 8 foods are:
- Cow’s milk
- Tree nuts
- Shellfish (such as shrimp)
- Finned fish
Out of these 8 major food allergens, the top 3 food allergies found in children are milk, egg, and peanut. Milk, egg, and peanut alone are responsible for over 80% of childhood food allergies. Other common food allergies, such as fish, typically develop in older children and adults. This is one reason why Ready, Set, Food! focuses on introducing peanut, egg, and milk.
- The most common food allergy in infants and young children
- Affects 2-3% of children younger than 3 years old
- Milk allergy usually develops within the first year of life
- Most children “outgrow” (or become tolerant to) a milk allergy later in life
- Still, in school-age children, milk is the most common cause of reactions at school
- Affects 2% of children
- Egg allergy usually presents in the 1st year of life
- Most children “outgrow” their egg allergy
- However, outgrowing a childhood egg allergy may occur as late as the teenage years
- Affects up to 2% of children
- Peanut allergy is more likely to be lifelong; only 20% outgrow a peanut allergy
- Peanut allergies most often cause severe or fatal reactions
- The rate of peanut allergy has tripled since 1997
To learn more about food allergy trends, be sure to read our free ebook A Parent’s Guide to Food Allergies.
Milk, Egg, and Peanut Allergies Have the Greatest Impact on Quality of Life
Living with a food allergy can cause social exclusion for children, leaving them to feel left out. Around 1 in 3 children with food allergies have also reported being bullied.
Egg and cow's milk allergies have the biggest impact on a child's quality of life. Milk and egg are the hardest allergens to avoid, since they are in so many foods. For example, when attending children's birthday parties, cake and ice cream are typically served. These and other popular birthday foods contain milk and egg, so kids with these food allergies will miss out on sweet treats and birthday fun.
Many other popular foods are also off limits to kids with milk and egg allergies. Grilled cheese and pizza contain milk, and macaroni and cheese usually contains both milk and eggs. Eggs are also hidden in many foods, like mayonnaise, salad dressing, sauces, and glazes.
Peanut allergies also have a significant impact on children’s quality of life, especially since peanut allergies are most likely to cause severe allergic reactions. In the recent APPEAL-1 study, 75% of people with peanut allergies said their allergies have negatively affected their social lives. 89% said peanut allergies have negatively affected special occasions (such as birthdays, holidays, and vacations). 90% said their peanut allergy made them frustrated and stressed.
Landmark Clinical Studies Focused on Peanut, Egg, and Milk
Ready, Set, Food! also focuses on introducing cow's milk, egg and peanut because recent landmark clinical studies (LEAP, EAT, PETIT) on early allergen introduction focused primarily on those 3 foods. Not only do these represent the most common childhood food allergies, but studies indicate that with early introduction, there can be a significant reduction in the development of an allergy to these foods.
The results of these landmark clinical studies have shown that introducing babies to peanut, egg, and milk early and often can help.
- Introducing early: Start to feed your baby peanut, egg, and milk as early as 4-6 months of age
- Introducing often: Continue to feed baby peanut, egg, and milk multiple times per week for at least several months
In addition, new clinical guidelines for food allergen introduction from the NIH, AAP, and AAAAI are based on these landmark studies.
Allergens covered: Peanut
Results: 81% reduction in peanut allergy
- Over 600 infants between 4 and 11 months of age either consumed peanut at least 3 times per week or avoided peanut completely
- These infants were all at high risk for peanut allergy
- The infants who ate peanut ate 6g of peanut protein per week for 4 years
- Consuming peanut early and often reduced babies’ peanut allergy risk by 81%
Allergens covered: Peanut, egg, milk
Results: 67% reduction in peanut, egg and milk allergy
- 1300 infants either started eating peanut, egg, and milk protein at 3 months of age, or avoided these foods until age 3
- These infants were from the general population (no risk factors)
- Infants who ate the peanut, egg, and milk ate each food 3 times per week---3g of peanut, egg, and milk protein per week
- Babies were exposed to these foods in 3-month periods
- Babies who consumed the peanut, egg, and milk multiple times per week for at least 3 months saw up to a 67% reduced risk of allergies to these foods
- Nearly half the families could not follow the dosing protocols
- Babies whose families couldn’t follow the protocols didn’t build up tolerance to the peanut, egg, and milk
Allergens covered: Egg
Results: 79% reduction in egg allergy
- 147 babies with eczema between 4-5 months of age either consumed or avoided egg for 6 months
- Babies who ate the egg ate egg powder 3 times per week, mixed with squash, for 6 months
- Egg was introduced with the stepwise method: starting with a low dose and gradually increasing the dose
- Consuming egg early and often reduced babies’ egg allergy risk by up to 79%
Ready, Set, Food! introduces the exact amounts of peanut, egg, and milk used in these landmark studies, and recommended by the clinical guidelines. Our system also introduces one food at a time, and gradually introduces each food. The PETIT study and leading pediatricians recommend this as the safest and most effective approach.
Since the landmark studies only covered peanut, egg, and milk, there isn't enough known about safe and effective doses for introducing the other 6 top allergy-causing foods to young children.
Ready, Set, Food!: The Evidence-Based Choice
Ready, Set, Food! focuses on peanut, egg, and milk because our system is based on the approach used in landmark clinical studies and supported by medical guidelines. 1000+ leading pediatricians and allergists recommend our evidence-based and gentle approach.
Also, peanut, egg, and milk are the three most common food allergies, and have the biggest impact on quality of life. Introducing peanut, egg and milk with Ready, Set, Food! gives your baby the best chance at food freedom.
All health-related content on this website is for informational purposes only and does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the advice of your own pediatrician in connection with any questions regarding your baby’s health.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If your infant has severe eczema, check with your infant’s healthcare provider before feeding foods containing ground peanuts.