There was a study designed by a team from King’s College London called Learning Early About Peanut Allergy (LEAP) .  It was interesting enought that there is a whole website now dedicated to this.

The question it wanted to answer was simple – Should young children eat peanuts or avoid them? Which is a better approach to preventing peanut allergy?

Peanut  allergies tend to develop in childhood, usually are lifelong. In the U.S., approximately three million people report allergies to peanuts and tree nuts. Studies show the number of American children living with peanut allergy appears to have tripled between 1997 and 2008 – it is so bad that presumably 1 in 50 American kids suffers from a peanut allergy. What is even worse is that children with food allergy are 2-4 times more likely to have other related conditions such as asthma and other allergies, compared with children who do not have food allergies.

What is interesting though is that Israeli kids dont suffer from them.

The editorial (referring on the actual paper) is an interesting read describing the results as  are so compelling, and the problem of the increasing prevalence of peanut allergy so alarming, new guidelines should be forthcoming very soon. 

In the study, London based infants (4-11 months old) who were already at a high risk of developing peanut allergy (as results of their parents having a similar allergy), were randomly fed food that contained peanuts or without it. Now this was interesting because parents tend to avoid feeding kids peanuts out of fear that they may develop an allergy (interestingly, this is similar to parents not exposing their kids to dust, street food, god knows what else).

The result – exactly what the proverbs tell us: Those who consumed the foods that had peanuts in them were far less likely to be allergic to peanuts when they turned 5. In fact this is fairly similar to why Israeli kids are less likely to be peanut allergic – the most popular snack in Israel is Bamba, which are essentially cheetos with the cheese replaced by peanut butter (as a way of ensuring kosher compliant food). Increases in levels of peanut-specific IgG4 antibody occurred predominantly in the peanut consumption group – remember, a lower ratio of peanut-specific IgG4:IgE were associated with peanut allergy.

Whose fault is this: well, the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2000 recommended that no maternal dietary restrictions during pregnancy were necessary with the exception of peanuts and tree nuts. In 2008, the AAP published an updated guideline that simply said that “found that in peanut allergic children there was no evidence of prenatal sensitization from the maternal diet…… delaying the introduction of foods that are considered to be highly allergic, such as fish, eggs, and foods containing peanut protein.

However, very interestingly, last month the AAP retracted its earlier guidelines and published new ones.

The interim guidance summarizes the evidence that finds early peanut introduction is safe and effective in infants at high risk of peanut allergy. Health care providers should recommend introducing peanut-containing products into the diets of high-risk infants between ages 4 and 11 months. Because there is a risk that such infants could already be peanut-allergic, the guidance suggests that infants with early onset allergic disease, such as severe eczema or egg allergy, may benefit from an evaluation by an allergist, which could include allergy testing, and possibly an observed peanut ingestion. – See more at:

So what’s the current best practice ? feed more peanut chikki or peanut butter to your kid and avoid nut allergies in general.