Has your doctor warned you about eating peanuts while pregnant or breastfeeding? A new study has just been released that links eating peanuts during pregnancy with an increased risk of peanut allergies in infants. The research out of Montreal showed that eating peanuts during pregnancy quadrupled the risk of allergy in a child, and eating peanuts while breastfeeding doubled the risk of a toddler developing allergies. The recommendation is to avoid peanuts if the parents have any kind of allergy (even if it’s not a food allergy). Read article here.
WHY is this so, you may be asking. Well, it has to do with the peanut protein (the allergenic part of the peanut). A study in 2001 proved that peanut protein passed into the breast milk of some women within 2-6 hours after ingestion. One theory of why peanut allergy develops is that it is triggered by early exposure. So, an infant consuming peanut protein in breast milk is being sensitized to peanut and is at risk for developing a potentially fatal peanut allergy. (This pertains to babies with one or more parents who have asthma, eczema or allergies.) Read that article here.
Some people advise against changing one’s diet until more research is performed because they don’t want it to lead to nutritional deficiencies in the mother’s diet. In my opinion, if the food being avoided is not necessary for good health or whose nutrients can be found in other food sources (which most can), why not be on the safe side and cut it out? Yes, it is a commitment to change your diet, but it’s for your child – believe me, it won’t be the last sacrifice you make as a parent!