Why is it used?
Avoidance of peanuts and peanut containing foods is required in allergies to
the nut. Avoidance can mean not only not eating peanuts but also not being able
to touch or inhale peanuts.
Symptoms, typically are severe, and can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, urticaria,
swelling of the face, abdominal pain, eczema, asthma and anaphylactic shock.
If untreated can lead to death.
Who would require the diet?
Peanut allergy is increasing and the age that it affects an individual is decreasing.
This is probably due to the earlier introduction of peanuts into the diet. It
normally occurs within the first 2 years of life and the condition usually is
lifelong. If peanut allergy occurs as one of several allergies there is a greater
chance of it getting better in due course.
What is the diet and how does it work?
It is a very difficult diet to follow as peanuts and peanut products are present
in very many foods, it is especially difficult for children who can unwittingly
come into contact with peanuts and peanut products through their friends.
Foods that are most likely to contain peanuts are cakes, biscuits, pastries,
ice cream, desserts toppings for desserts and cakes, cereal bars, peanut butter,
nut spreads, satay sauce, ground nuts, mixed nuts, confectionery, vegetarian
products, curies, salad dressings, breakfast cereals and East Asian dishes.
Will the diet harm me?
If a balanced diet is followed, then omitting peanuts from the diet will not
be a problem, it may not be as varied since many of the treat foods are not
What else do I need to know?
Strictly speaking the peanut is a legume (e.g. peas, beans and lentils), avoidance
of these is not essential as most people allergic to peanuts are not allergic
to legumes. It is more common to be allergic to tree nuts such as brazil, almond
and hazel. Because the allergic response to peanuts is dramatic often-requiring
treatment it is very important to ensure that all traces of peanuts are avoided.
Crude (unrefined) peanut oil may contain traces of the peanut protein, which
causes the allergy, whereas refined may be acceptable.
Food labelling often gives information about whether peanuts may be present,
but this is not always guaranteed, lecithin an ingredient common in many manufactured
foods may be derived from peanuts. The general maxim is if in doubt leave it
Foods sold loose are unwrapped can also be a problem as contamination is a
Some foods that are known to be peanut free may be excluded as they may have
been manufactured in an area where even a small degree of contamination can
Where else can I seek help?
A State Registered Dietitian can help assess if the diet is nutritionally balanced
and provide practical suggestions with the diet. All doctors have access to
a dietitian within the NHS alternatively you can contact the British Dietetic
Association who can provide names of qualified dietitians who offer their services
privately and who are able to help.
The British Dietetic Association
148/9 Great Charles Street Queensway
Birmingham B3 3HT
Tel: 0121 200 8080
Fax: 0121 200 8081
Although injectable adrenaline is provided by the patient's own doctor, the
Anaphylaxis campaign will provide information and support.
The Anaphylaxis Campaign
2 Clockhouse Road
Tel: 01252 542029
Fax: 01252 377140
British Allergy Foundation
30 Bellgrove Road