Allergy Sufferers: Know What Foods to Avoid

by Elisa Olivier-Nielsen, MA, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, EON Consulting

If you are dealing with food allergies, your first step may be having to avoid either dairy, egg, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, or shellfish.

Before you buy any food product, always read the entire food label to make sure the product is safe. Milk, egg, wheat, soy, peanut, tree nut, fish and crustacean shellfish are considered major allergens — you will find these ingredients listed on a food label.

When a product (such as a marinade) has a vague ingredient term such as “natural flavoring,” you may need to call the manufacturer to ask whether any of your allergens are ingredients. Also note that manufacturers may change ingredients and food preparation methods at any time.

Here’s what to avoid in different food groups:


Stay away from milk products with added fish ingredients (for example, yogurt or milk with added fish oil for omega-3 supplementation); fish oil; Caesar salad dressing, margarines and oils with added fish oils; Worcestershire sauce; fish stock and soups; seafood flavoring; surimi or artificial crab or “sea legs”; fish sauces.


Look out for milk ingredients such as casein, caseinates (all forms), curds, hydrolysates (casein, milk protein, protein, whey, whey protein), Lactalbumin, lactalbumin phosphate, lactoglobulin, lactoferrin.

Avoid milk derivatives in milk powder, milk protein, milk solids, nonfat milk solids, nonfat dry milk; rennet casein; and whey (all forms, such as cured whey, lactose-free whey, demineralized whey, sweet dairy whey, whey protein concentrate, whey powder, whey solids).


Watch out for peanuts in all forms of butter, flour and oil.


Don’t eat bouillabaisse; fish stock and soups; seafood flavoring; and fish sauce.


Dangers include all wheat- containing foods, flours, malt, starch, dextrin, bran and germ; bulgur; cereal extract; and wheats such as Durum flour, Durum wheat, Emmer, Einkorn, farina, farro, Kamut semolina, spelt, sprouted wheat, triticale, vital gluten, wheat berries.


Here are the culprits: soy-based vegetarian and vegan products foods; edamame; miso, natto, shoyu sauce or soy sauce, soy protein (concentrate, hydrolyzed, isolate), tempeh, textured vegetable protein and tofu, and such soy foods soy cheese, fiber, flour, grits, ice cream, milk, nuts, sprouts, and yogurt.


Keep away from egg whites and yolk and products containing eggs such as custards, quiche, eggnog, etc.


Steer clear of all nuts including coconut, ginkgo and hickory.

Your second step is to eat foods that are easy substitutions for your food allergens such as eating seeds instead of nuts, eating meats instead of eggs at breakfast or taking a supplement.