In the clamor surrounding removing gluten from food, people haven't stopped to ask: What's going in it instead? One of the new ingredients hitting American supermarkets as a gluten replacements is lupin, and it could have dangerous results for people with food allergies, according to Karen Blakeslee, MS, a food safety specialist from Kansas State University.
"Lupin is a yellow-colored bean that's very popular in Europe, Mediterranean countries, Australia, and New Zealand," Blakeslee says. Lupin, a wheat replacer, is actually a legume and belongs to the same plant family as peanuts.
According to Food Allergy Research and Education, about three million people report allergies to peanuts and tree nuts. Studies show the number of children living with peanut allergy appears to have tripled between 1997 and 2008. See the problem? You might go into a grocery store knowing to look for peanuts on a food label, but many people wouldn't blink an eye at lupin. Blakeslee also recommends people with soybean allergies keep an eye out for this new ingredient, too.
"[Lupin] is new to the United States and because of that, many consumers have never heard of it and may not realize that lupin has the same protein that causes allergic reactions to peanuts and soybeans," she explains.
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We see so many weird ingredients (like, what's carrageenan?), on food labels, what damage could one more mystery ingredient do, right? Wrong.
Allergic reactions can include hives, swelling of the lips, vomiting, breathing difficulties, and anaphylactic shock. "You can become allergic to something at any point in your life," reminds Blakeslee. "If you do start seeing any symptoms of an allergic reaction, stop eating the food immediately and contact your doctor."
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But, much like peanuts and soy, lupin isn't inherently dangerous to all-only individuals with legume allergies. The FDA expects lupin usage to increase in gluten-free products because it's high in fiber and protein and low in fat.
Published on: August 26, 2014