Shock: Protecting Children From Peanuts Causes Peanut Allergies

AP Photo/Patrick Sison, File

Over the past two decades, the incidence of peanut allergies among children has skyrocketed. 

Kids are 350% more likely to be allergic to peanuts than 20 years ago. That is a shocking increase, and the real-world consequences are significant. It's not just that a bunch of kids can't eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches; they are at risk of anaphylactic shock just being around peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. 

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People on planes are worried about peanuts, for God's sake. And as frustrating as that is, it's not an insane worry for some people. 

So what's going on?

The answer is pretty simple: we are protecting kids from peanuts, and the result is that kids are put in danger by peanuts. They would have been much better off if they had been eating peanut butter from an early age (and it is a good source of protein, and peanut noodles are AWESOME!). 

Children who consume peanut products from infancy are significantly less likely to develop peanut allergies by early adolescence, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal NEJM Evidence.

The study, which followed more than 500 participants until the age of 12, confirmed what previous research has found but tracked the children for longer than most previous work.

Michelle F. Huffaker, one of the authors of the study and the director of translational medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, said it was “extraordinary” to be able to demonstrate that early exposure to peanuts was correlated with a lower rate of peanut allergy lasting at least to age 12.

“It was certainly what we’d hoped to see,” she said. Another study, referred to as the LEAP trial, examined children up to age 5, but “it wasn’t clear that that was necessarily enough time to prove long-term tolerance,” she added.

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I'm shocked, I tell you. Shocked!

As a kid who was born on the cusp of Gen X--I was born in 1964, which is technically a Boomer, but I don't think anybody who wasn't eligible for the draft or going to Woodstock is a Boomer--my parents were of the "free range" variety. Extremely free range, actually. But I won't talk about my childhood. 

Sometime after my childhood came the helicopter parents, who monitored everything, scheduled every moment, and made sure their kids were protected from every bump, germ, and potential danger. These parents thought they were doing the right thing--ensuring their kids' futures--but what they were doing was reducing resilience and, indeed, the immune system. 

Playing in dirt, eating a variety of foods, adapting to our environments, and learning how to take care of ourselves should all be part of growing up. For too many kids, the opposite is the case. 

Food allergies among children in the United States doubled from 2000 to 2018, according to a Washington Post analysis of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health Interview Survey last year. Multiple likely causes include underexposing children to potentially allergenic substances.

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Never in American history have there been so many mentally ill kids. We have raised a generation or two of kids whose bodies are unable to cope with basic things like peanut butter, and heaven forbid they encounter anybody whose opinion differs from their own. 

Colleges are obsessed with "safe spaces" for anybody but Jews, and anybody who disagrees with a trans person is committing "genocide." Schools teach "Social and Emotional Learning" to kids, and they come out unable to cope with almost any disagreement. 

At least, that's true for the affluent. At the other end of the social scale, disagreements more frequently end up in physical confrontations, but that is a different story. I doubt that poorer kids are worried about peanuts nearly as much as the children of AWFLs. 

As usual, the AWFLs are awful. They have the judgment of Joe Biden on a bad day. 

I have a relative raising a child whose favorite pastimes are playing in the dirt, picking fruit off of trees and eating it without washing, and running around in the sunshine. She is supremely unconcerned with bugs, dirt, microbes, or peanuts. 

Something tells me her immune system will be working well as she grows up. Nobody talks to her about her self-esteem; instead, she is encouraged to explore, try, and achieve on her own. There's a TV in the house, but reading is the entertainment almost all the time. 

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She'll be fine. More kids should live like this. 

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John Stossel 1:00 PM | June 15, 2024
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