About 90 percent of reported food allergies are reactions to the same eight foods, according to the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, an advocacy organization that provides research and education on allergies. Those foods are: peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish. But what about the other 10 percent? Foods like wine, sesame seeds and apples can also cause an allergic reaction -- or can be the root of an intolerance that causes chronic symptoms. In fact, a study released this week found that as many as 7 percent of adults -- that's 8.9 percent of women and 5.2 percent of men -- may have a wine intolerance.
It's important to note the difference between an allergy and an intolerance. "An allergy is an immune system response that can cause severe reactions such as hives, wheezing, swelling, a drop in blood pressure and trouble breathing," says Dr. Scott H. Sicherer, a Professor of Pediatrics at the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute, Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. "An intolerance is metabolic -- your body has trouble processing a sugar or other compound in a food."
While it's true that any food can cause an allergic or intolerance reaction, some are more well-known than others. We decided to round up some of the foods that allergists see in their patients -- those that aren't nearly as common as peanuts, but still cause trouble for a significant number of people:
Yes, meat. Many people are allergic to chicken, beef, lamp or pork -- or any combination thereof. "Interestingly, in most allergic reactions, it's the protein that the body is responding to. But with meat allergies, it's the sugar," Dr. Hemant Sharma, Director of Food Allergy Program at Children's National in Washington DC. Sharma tells HuffPost Healthy Living that researchers now believe there's a connection between allergies to meat and tick exposure because the distribution of meat allergies mimics the distribution of tick populations in the south. He notes that Southern author John Grisham is an outspoken meat allergy sufferer -- he is unable to eat any red meat.
Sesame seeds are often thought of as the ninth common allergan, according to Sicherer, and are continuing to grow. Sharma explains that this may be simply a matter of changing food choices in the U.S. "It's a pretty common food allergy in other parts of the world, especially the Middle East where the diet is rich in sesame," he says. "Now the American diet is incorporating more and more sesame seed, which could explain the rise in prevalence."
Marshmallows are made of sugar and gelatin, which causes an allergic reaction in some people. That makes marshmallows, gummy candy and, interestingly, some gelatin-containing childhood vaccines off limits.
Mild apple allergies are more common than you'd think, according to Sicherer. But it isn't anything inherent to the fruit that allergists believe cause the reaction. Instead, it's the birch pollen that's commonly found on the surface of raw apples that can cause an itchy throat. Birch pollen is also commonly found on peaches and plums, so those with hay fever beware!
If you get an itchy mouth from eating melon, it could be a ragweed pollen allergy that's causing the discomfort, according to Sicherer.
Often, if someone has an allergic or intolerant reaction to hot dogs, they assume it's the preservative nitrates found in many processed meats. But, according to Sicherer, it could very easily be the Annato seed, which is used as a natural dye to turn foods orange or pink.
Just as with wine, the actual fruit may not be the problem. Instead, the preservative sulfites can cause a reaction in many, including an itchy jaw and flushed face.