Food Allergies | Causes & Risk Factors


What foods commonly cause allergic reactions?

Although people can be allergic to any kind of food, most food allergies are caused by tree nuts, peanuts, milk, eggs, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish. These eight foods account for 90% of food allergies. Most people who have food allergies are allergic to fewer than 4 foods.

Could I be allergic to food dyes or artificial flavors?

Studies have found that some food additives, such as tartrazine, or yellow No. 5, and aspartame (brand name: NutraSweet), an artificial sweetener, do cause problems in some people.

Could I be allergic to sugar?

No. A condition is called a food allergy when the immune system thinks a certain protein in a food is a "foreign" agent and fights against it. This doesn't happen with sugars and fats.


Manifestations of Food Allergy: Evaluation and Management by SH Sicherer, M.D. (American Family Physician January 15, 1999,

Reviewed/Updated: 03/14
Created: 09/00