Saturday, March 24, 2012

Hold the Fries

This post is not about what you might expect from the title; French fries and why you should not eat them because of their high fat, salt content, etc.  Instead, I am writing about food allergies.  In the same few years that I developed my autoimmune disease, I also developed a number of food allergies.  While my doctors can't say these reactions were caused by my disease, they agree it's likely there is some connection with my immune system so revved up. Although I don't know if there is any proven medical relationship between the two, I have heard anecdotally from several others with autoimmune disease that they also have food allergies and food sensitivities.  

One of my allergies is to onions and the whole onion family of foods.  This is my food allergy that certainly makes it hardest to go out to eat because onions, scallions, leeks, shallots, and chives...are quite a common ingredient. Ok, no onions. I finally figured it out. But I kept having serious allergic reactions when I would eat French fries (one of my guilty pleasures). At first it made no sense to me – I can eat potatoes, oil and salt so what was the problem?

What I soon discovered is that restaurants often cook fries in the same oil as they cook a number of food items including onion rings and fried chicken fingers (which often have onion powder in their coating). Many don't even seem to be aware of it until I cross-examine my waiters and ask them to specifically check with the chef. I realized this was more of a problem than I knew when a friend with a serious seafood allergy told me she had the same experience with French fries, but with an allergic reaction caused by calamari having been fried in the same oil!

Now we both know that when we are craving French fries or something else fried that we have to ask exactly what else is cooked in the fryer to avoid needing Benadryl, the dreaded epi-pen, or the even more dreaded trip to the emergency room. I know that most of the time I have to forgo those delicious French fries, but I am sure my cholesterol will thank me in the long run.  


  1. I have an observation. We recently discovered that there is a serious allergy that can arise from "gluten" and that they are even in body products like shampoo.. . Now my mother has an allergy, my son may have the allergy to gluten too, so we are about to change his shampoo to a gluten free one to test the theory. So it also occurred to me that I may also have the allergy. Here is my reasoning for reviewing your article. Every so often when I eat fries the salt or something will leave a blister on my lips..that acts like cold sores..and its only after certain fries..never get it from Sonic by this time it was Arby,s/Hardees and it was bad..the skin even blistered off like a bad sunburn after a few days.I am betting they have gluten..which may cause redish swelling and irritation to the skin.

  2. I just had an allergic reaction to eating about 5 fries from Jack in the Box.

  3. I had a weird reaction to eating McD's french fries. I felt a pain like someone stabbing me in the back between the shoulder blades and there was a deep pain in my chest when swallowing. Like the pain when something goes down the wrong pipe--but it had not. I would stop eating the fries and let the pain go away. Then I tried eating another french fry and the pain came back exactly the same! This happens now every time I eat french fries from every fast food place I have tried, so it is definitely the french fries. Why now do I have this reaction that I didn't have before? I do not eat fries often so for this to happen was surprising and Weird!

    1. The same thing happens to me. Today was the first time I had actually thrown up while the pain was happening. This wasn't like the other times, where the pain would just stop at one point, this time, it was worse. I had felt way more pain between the shoulder blades and I am still feeling pain. This has been happening since I was a child, but my mother says when I was a baby, I ate fries almost every other day. If anyone has suggestions to what I should take or what I have, please tell me.

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