03/07/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

The Difference Between A Food Allergy And A False Alarm

For Ingelisa Keeling, a Houston mother of three children with multiple allergies, mealtime was a struggle. Nuts, eggs, wheat, beef, peas and rice were all off limits, banned by the children's allergist.

But recently, Mrs. Keeling learned that her family's diet need not be so restrictive. Although her children do have real allergies -- to peanuts, milk and eggs, among other foods -- extensive testing at a major allergy center showed that they were not in fact allergic to many of the foods they had been avoiding. Her 2-year-old son, who had been living on a diet primarily of potatoes, fruit and hypoallergenic formula, has resumed eating wheat, bananas, beef, peas, rice and corn.