CLOSE
Original image
istock

New Study Finds More Evidence That Early Exposure to Peanuts May Curb Allergy

Original image
istock

For many children in recent years, severe peanut allergies have turned seemingly safe spaces like elementary school cafeterias, restaurants, and airplanes into mine fields. While allergies have always been around in some form, peanut allergy diagnoses have tripled since 1995, prompting scientists to race to study causes, treatments, and cures. In 2015, The New England Journal of Medicine published a study claiming early exposure to peanuts could reduce the risk of developing the allergy by 80 percent. And now, in a follow-up study of the same children, researchers have found even more evidence to support that theory.

According to BBC News, the new study, also published in The New England Journal of Medicine, found that of the 550 children in the study, those exposed to peanut snacks within the first eleven months of life have a reduced risk of developing peanut allergies—even if, at age five, they stop eating peanuts for an entire year. While the 2015 study tested the effects of early peanut consumption on the future development of allergies, the 2016 study specifically considered what happens when children stop consuming peanuts at age five.

Together, the studies indicate that peanut allergies can be curbed, in most cases, early in life. Moreover, researchers found that the rate of peanut allergy among the children at age 6 was almost four times higher among the participants in the peanut-avoidance group than among those in the peanut-consumption group (18.6 percent versus 4.8 percent).

These results have significant implications for future generations of children. "I believe that this fear of food allergy has become a self-fulfilling prophecy, because the food is excluded from the diet and, as a result, the child fails to develop tolerance," Researcher Gideon Lack told BBC News. “[The research] clearly demonstrates that the majority of infants did in fact remain protected and that the protection was long-lasting."

[h/t BBC News]

Original image
iStock
arrow
Food
Thanks to a Wet Winter, New Zealand Faces a Potential Potato Chip Shortage
Original image
iStock

New Zealand has plenty of unique and tasty snacks, but kiwis also love potato chips. The universal comfort food is in danger Down Under, however, as an unusually wet winter has devastated the island country’s tuber crops, according to BBC News.

Twenty percent of New Zealand’s annual potato crop was wiped out from a series of major storms and floods that ravaged the nation’s North and South Islands, The Guardian reports. In some regions, up to 30 percent of potato crops were affected, with the varieties used to make chips bearing the brunt of the damage.

Potato prices spiked as farmers struggled, but the crisis—now dubbed “chipocalypse” by media outlets—didn't really make the mainstream news until supermarket chain Pak’nSave posted announcements in potato chip aisles that warned customers of a salty snack shortage until the New Year.

Pak’nSave has since rescinded this explanation, claiming instead that they made an ordering error. However, other supermarket chains say they’re working directly with potato chip suppliers to avoid any potential shortfalls, and are aware that supplies might be limited for the foreseeable future.

New Zealand’s potato farming crisis extends far beyond the snack bars at rugby matches and vending machines. Last year’s potato crops either rotted or remained un-harvested, and the ground is still too wet to plant new ones. This hurts New Zealand’s economy: The nation is the world’s ninth-largest exporter of potatoes.

Plus, potatoes “are a food staple, and this is becoming a food security issue as the effects of climate change take their toll on our potato crop,” says Chris Claridge, the chief executive of industry group Potatoes New Zealand, according to The Guardian.

In the meantime, New Zealanders are preparing to hunker down for a few long months of potential potato peril—and according to some social media users, kale chips are not a suitable alternative. “Chipocalypse” indeed.

[h/t BBC News]

Original image
iStock
arrow
Food
50 Sweet Facts About Your Favorite Halloween Candies
Original image
iStock

It’s no surprise that candy delights kids and adults alike. We love sweets so much that the average American eats about 22 pounds of candy each year. Whether you’re looking to impress your friends or simply brush up on your candy trivia, check out these 50 sweet facts about your favorite candies.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios