Allergic to All Starches

Bread and bakery
Starch is a form of carbohydrate. (Image: amenic181/iStock/Getty Images)

Dangerous food allergies can make you afraid to eat anything. If you have a reaction to starchy foods like corn, peas, potatoes and grains, your diet can seem very limited. Allergies to rice are uncommon, but possible. Starch is tough to avoid and certain food additives and processed food products can trigger an unexpected reaction. Learning how to supplement your diet to compensate for missing food groups is an important skill for living a healthy life.

Starch versus Gluten

Starch is composed of long chains of glucose molecules. Often, it is the protein component of food that triggers allergic reactions, such as gluten in wheat. Because starch is made up of sugars, you should keep a food diary to pinpoint exactly what foods are causing your symptoms. It is easy to mistake a gluten allergy for a starch allergy since both are present in many of the same grain foods. If you react to vegetable starches, like potatoes and peas, gluten is probably not the route of your problem. Symptoms of a food allergy include difficulty breathing, rashes, itchiness, swelling, canker sores and diarrhea.

Hidden Starches

Depending on the sensitivity of your allergy, consider your intake of hidden starches in processed foods. Check the ingredient list on the nutrition facts label to see if modified food starch is added to your favorite products. Bouillon cubes, gravy, soups, soy sauce, imitation fish and candy are all possible sources of small quantities of starch. Many foods contain natural or added starch, but cutting out all starch foods may not be necessary. Talk to your doctor to determine what precautions you should take.

Missing Nutrients

If you cut starches completely out of your diet, you are likely to miss out on key micronutrients and fiber. The B vitamins, other than vitamin B-12, are usually found in whole grain cereals. Vitamin A is found in many starchy fruits and vegetables like mangoes, carrots and pumpkin. Certain minerals, like zinc and magnesium, are also found in starch foods. Eat a varied, nutrient-dense diet of foods you can tolerate. Consider a multivitamin to help you meet your needs. Talk to your doctor about appropriate supplementation.

Dietary Restrictions

Before severely restricting your diet, see an allergist to determine the exact cause of your symptoms. A registered dietitian can work with you to come up with an eating plan that fits your specific requirements. Allergies can be tough to overcome, but getting familiar with food labels and experimenting in the kitchen can make eating enjoyable again. Trust your body and do not be afraid to try new foods that can work for you. When dining out, do your research and ask to speak to the chef if necessary to get the information you need.

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