Social Question

Dutchess_III's avatar

Do some people only imagine that they have an intolerance for certain foods?

Asked by Dutchess_III (36142points) May 8th, 2014

Maybe they believe they have an intolerance, but then realize they’ve been eating things that contain whatever bad food in it all along, and nothing happens when they do.

An acquaintance had throat surgery today. A while ago she asked them for a shake and they said no, because she has egg allergies (supposedly) Well, she didn’t realize that ice cream has a LOT of egg in it and she’s been eating ice cream and shakes for years with no problem.

So, what does this mean?

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34 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

Not all ice cream has eggs. In fact, I think most store bought doesn’t have eggs.

To answer your question, yes I think some people think they have allergies and they don’t. Also, sometimes allergies come and go. So they might have been sensitive or allergic and now aren’t and they don’t know things have changed.

My husband thought he was allergic to penicillin, but one time when I really wanted him to take it the doctor asked him why he thinks he is allergic and my husband said his mom told him the doctor asked what happened when he took, and my husband had no idea. Long story short, he takes penicillin with no problem.

Dutchess_III's avatar

The thing is, she had NO IDEA that ice cream / milk shakes have eggs in them, so she hasn’t been going out of her way to eat only special ice creams.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III My guess is she has eaten some eggs without realizing it if she isn’t obsessing about it, but most store bought ice cream doesn’t have eggs.

GloPro's avatar

Jimmy Kimmel called out people who have gone gluten free. Turns out most gluten free eaters have no idea what gluten is. Hilarious.

Dutchess_III's avatar

My question is, if she was really allergic to eggs, wouldn’t she have a reaction to eating ice cream or shakes?

I’m just doing a random check of the ingredients in the more common ice cream. Blue Bunny has eggs.

Haagen Dazs does.

I don’t know what other ice creams you buy at the store to look up.

livelaughlove21's avatar

Yeah, haven’t you ever heard of gluten-free diets?

I’ll take extra gluten on mine, please!

Damn, just realized @GloPro beat me to it.

Juels's avatar

Probably depends on her level of sensitivity and the amount of allergen she was exposed to.

canidmajor's avatar

To answer the Q as asked, yes, probably some people do. For example, if someone has a bad reaction after eating a strawberry, and it may have been a reaction to an unseen bit of mold on the strawberry, they would likely blame the strawberry.

In the case of your friend, she may well have an intolerance to eggs in more concentrated doses than are found in regular servings of ice cream.
One of my kids is gluten-intolerant, but doesn’t have a reaction if the GF food is cooked on the same grill as gluten foods.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@Dutchess_III We buy the store brand and it does not have eggs. We also buy Turkey Hill sometimes and the one in my freezer right now only has egg yolks, not egg whites. Her ability to eat ice cream without reaction would depend on what the exact ingredients are in the ice cream she is eating and the severity of her reaction. Just because she has been able to eat some ice cream without a reaction doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a true egg allergy.

That being said, sometimes people do think they have an intolerance because if one particular bad experience when it may not have been a true intolerance issue.

Dutchess_III's avatar

None of them have egg whites in them. What is your store brand called @Seaofclouds?

seekingwolf's avatar

I think this happens a LOT. Especially with items that are “trendy” to be allergic to, like gluten and even peanuts. I’ve heard of parents saying that their children are allergic to peanuts when in reality, they are just so scared of their kids being allergic to nuts that they just keep their kids away from nuts and say that they are allergic! Silly!

Dutchess_III's avatar

Ben and Jerry’s has eggs.

Looks like maybe Bryer’s doesn’t.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

I believe that whole-heartedly. The tree nut allergy is the best example. Those that are allergic to tree nuts mistakenly think they have allergies to peanuts – which are actually a variety of soy bean. My son says that onions give him heartburn – but guess what, if they are chopped finely enough that he can’t see them, then they don’t. Amazing! The mind is a funny thing.

GloPro's avatar

@seekingwolf Better safe than sorry when it comes to peanuts. Anaphylaxis due to peanuts (not all nuts, peanuts for some reason are deadly) is a serious, serious issue. Last summer a 13 year-old kid at camp here in my town died in about 15 minutes from a peanut reaction… She had her Epi-pen with her.
Peanut allergies rank in the very top for severity and danger.

JLeslie's avatar

“Premium” brands are more likely to have eggs, and vanilla is more likely to have eggs, especially French vanilla. Even the Blue Bunny novelties often don’t have eggs. Breyers I know most flavors don’t have eggs. Homemade often has eggs.

I don’t buy ice cream often, I just know since I worry about cholesterol I watch for eggs, so I never eat French vanilla and I don’t obsess about most ice cream having eggs in it. But, since no matter what ice cream is highish in cholesterol and might have eggs and I don’t crave it often, I tend not to eat it.

I wonder if she eats fresh pasta? Dried pasta has no eggs, but fresh pasta or the refrigerator pasta almost always has eggs. Not to be confused with egg noodles which obviously have eggs even though they are sold dried. In fact, if she eats chicken noodle soup it easily could have egg in the noodles.

seekingwolf's avatar


Yes, nut allergies are really terrible. But I’m not sure that I understand the logic of depriving a child any and all nuts forever and ever for fear that they MIGHT be allergic. That makes so little sense to me. I mean, there are many nuts in things. Wouldn’t a parent rather find out (even though an allergist, he can do tests) if a child is allergic to nuts so they know for sure and can get Epi-Pens and be better prepared?

Rather than just assuming that the kid has an allergy and avoiding those foods but not having the right tools and education (due to lack of an official diagnosis)...because what if an allergy attack actually happens? The kid is SOL.

wildpotato's avatar

Another possibility – this is obviously not the case in the example you give, but I can see how this misunderstanding could also come about in another way. Sometimes some people (like myself) misrepresent their non-allergy food intolerance as an allergy just to avoid all the questions and the well-meaners who will try to push you to take just a bite since it won’t kill you.

GloPro's avatar

I’m somewhat of a masochist. I caught on that freshwater green lipped muscles made me severely, coiled around the toilet for hours sick. I actually tested my theory 3 times more over the course of a year to confirm that it is freshwater muscles. I’m not allergic to any other shellfish, so I don’t know what green-lipped muscles have that other bivalves don’t. I think peanuts are the same way. They are different than tree nuts, and somehow they are deadly for some.

This prompts another question…

Juels's avatar

@GloPro I hear ya… I’m allergic to chicken and turkey (throat swells shut, anaphylaxis) but I can eat eggs. Strange how allergies work.

canidmajor's avatar

People claiming to have allergies who actually don’t is a fairly harmless thing. People ragging on others claiming that it’s just “trendy” to make such claims is not only unnecessarily rude but can be harmful. My daughter has colitis, and eliminating gluten eliminated most of the symptoms. However, people occasionally try to test her to “prove” that she doesn’t know what she’s talking about or just ignore her requests for information and become impatient if she refuses a food because of that. The consequences of gluten consumption are pretty severe.

I have no problem with people who refuse certain foods for whatever reason. I do have a problem with people who don’t respect that.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I can’t imagine any one getting upset because someone refuses certain foods, even if they don’t give a reason.

GloPro's avatar

@canidmajor I am constantly putting my foot down at the restaurant I just took a part time job at. Last week several times I went back to ask the chef if an ingredient was in something… He would respond that he would “wash the hell out of it” and the diner would “never know.” I’m back there being an asshole because I force them to start from scratch to protect the diner. Who am I to say if you really are allergic to butter or if you just don’t like it? They should be respected and get what they want regardless of their reason for their request. If the request cannot be accommodated then the chef should say so, and he doesn’t. It pisses me off.
I’m the only one that tells vegetarians that there is egg in the house dressing…

JLeslie's avatar

She might just have a sensitivity and in small amounts she is fairly unaffected. Maybe ice cream is ok, but a three egg omelet isn’t.

seekingwolf's avatar


As the mother of a child who has a legitimate (not assumed or feigned) food allergy, I would think you would be more angry about people feigning allergies or assuming allergies when there are none. It cheapens the word and makes it harder for people who are ACTUALLY allergic to receive treatment and respect. Think of this, let’s say we had a “trend” where everyone thought that they were diabetic. No real diagnosis, just that “Oh, I’m a diabetic, I have to watch my sugar” and everytime they felt light-headed, it was a “hypoglycemic episode” for them, when it really wasn’t, because they didn’t have diabetes.

Think of how hard it would be for REAL diabetics to be taken seriously when they have a REAL diabetic attack. “Oh, you’re just one of those trendy diabetics who isn’t really a diabetic.”

Blame the people who are crying wolf, not the people who don’t want to have their time wasted.

So yeah, I’m not pleased with these “trendy” allergies. Every 5th person these days is somehow allergic to gluten or some other <insert trendy food here> but yet have no problem eating said foods. It’s ludicrous. Instead of being angry with me for pointing this stupid trend out, maybe you should redirect your anger towards the people who are perpetuating this nonsense so that people with REAL problems are thought to be “trendy”. They are the ones who are actually making it harder for your daughter, not me.

Honestly, if people were more diligent about going to their doctor instead of just reading Wikipedia, tumblr, or wherever people like to get their medical advice from these days, we’d be in a lot better place.

Dutchess_III's avatar

And everybody said, “Amen.”

Seaofclouds's avatar

@Dutchess_III Giant store brand mint chocolate chip (is what I have in the freezer right now).

canidmajor's avatar

@seekingwolf: while I understand your position, I don’t share it. As annoying as the “trendy” trend is, it is just that…trendy. After the trend settles down and is replaced by something else, an awareness of the for example gluten intolerance problems will remain in it’s wake, providing many more alternatives for the affected than were available before. When the lactose intolerant trend came and went the awareness of actual lactose intolerance remained, along with products and recipes and other support systems for those actually affected.

Publicity that raises awareness of any medical situation, no matter how seemingly silly or annoying for awhile, is, IMO, a good thing.

seekingwolf's avatar


I definitely don’t share the view of “any publicity is good publicity”. I don’t trust the media with something as important as medical knowledge and awareness. It just spreads misinformation around in the meantime, gets people worked up into a tizzy, and even has people thinking the wrong thing. When I was morbidly obese, before I got my weight loss surgery, I had people asking me “well did you ever think that gluten caused you to be obese?” sigh I can’t even dignify that question with a response. The media turns average Joes into little wanna-be healthcare professionals, spitting out whatever Dr. Travis said on the TV today, and the bad info gets perpetuated.

What we TRULY need to be healthier as a nation and to find medical issues early isn’t the media. Physicians, PAs, and NPs need to be trained to be better caregivers and to be more observant of potential issues, not just passing people along and ignoring complaints. Patients need to be taught how to be proper patients, to be honest with doctors, to not rely on TV shows and random Internet sites for medical advice, and to follow through with their appointments, preventive care, and follow-ups.

The only reason I got diagnosed with PCOS at a young age was because I had a good doctor who saw the signs and was able to get me to see an endocrinologist very early. That’s what we need to have happen. We need to be able to rely on the expertise of upper level professionals to determine our problems, not going by the assumptions and hysteria that the media likes to cultivate.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It’s the media “awareness’ that has convinced many foolish parents that they shouldn’t vaccinate their kids.

seekingwolf's avatar


Yes. The Lancet (the medical journal that originally published the ONE study that said that vaccines cause autism) even retracted that study and issued a statement. The scientist who performed the study is a JOKE in the scientific community. His sample size was way too small, he didn’t keep good records, he fudged the results, and I think later there was an accusation of possible abuse. Nothing he said should ever be considered seriously. The media didn’t and still doesn’t care.

Now we have measles coming back. I wouldn’t be surprised if polio come back too.

Media and medicine should never be mixed. Too dangerous.

Dutchess_III's avatar

My husband is on Warfarin for blood clots. There is a commercial on for Eliquis, which does the same thing, only they claim routine blood checks aren’t necessary. For that reason only my husband wants the doctor to prescribe it for him so he doesn’t have to get his blood checked once in a while. I think that’s wrong….why wouldn’t you want to keep track of something so serious?
Doctor told him it was $300.

JLeslie's avatar

@seekingwolf I agree that people crying wolf can create a bad situation for those with serious allergies. The problem is there are plenty of doctors who aren’t great. PCOS has more awareness now, but for years and years it went undiagnosed a lot. Girls with irregular periods were considered “normal” just young, and no further testing was done. As far as allergies, I think the news, talk shows, and stories spread from friend to friend about severe allergic reactions help more than hurt. If we have to pick between the extremes of too much information and some of it bullshit, and not enough, I pick too much information.

Forums and medical reporting can be helpful and absolutely can be harmful and inaccurate. The medical establishment and common thoughts among medical doctors about conditions can be wrong too. It happens all the time. It has happened to me. Literally, more than one doctor telling me why they think I am sick, because that is the common belief at the time, and later it is proven wrong and that theory is let go of. Yet, they still prescribed drugs for it, I went through procedures, and the whole time it made no sense to me, but I did what they said for years in desperation and to show them I am not completely obstanant and to hopefully get some doctor to help me once they see their treatment doesn’t work. Thank God for other women who had my problem and suggestions from friends.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

When I was a kid I was intolerant to lettuce (in sandwiches) celery (in the tuna fish) tomatoes, chili, spaghetti sauce.
And now I love them all, so I think yes, some of us do simply imagine it.

seekingwolf's avatar


See, the points you bring up, I see that as a failure of medical doctors and professionals to properly examine patients and bring up problems. PCOS has been around for a very long time. Hippocrates actually wrote about hairy women who seemed unable to bear children. It’s nothing new. It is still underdiagnosed because many professionals don’t take the symptoms seriously. They just file it under the category “lady problems”. That is the fault of the doctor.

Patients are responsible for reporting their symptoms and lifestyle habits accurately and truthfully to their caregivers. Patients should not be responsible for doing outside research on diagnoses and medications when they have little to no medical knowledge or training. The fact that this is so commonplace and even encouraged shows that we are failing. It is not a good thing.

The fact that we have so much misinformation and medical hysteria floating around is a sign that something is seriously wrong with our medical system. People need to have better access to doctors for preventive care, people need to trust doctors more, but doctors also need to be better trained. The number of bad doctors out there is abysmal.

I definitely hate how there is too much misinformation out there. Overall, I don’t think it has helped.


I’ve seen lots of ads/hype about drugs like that. You wouldn’t believe the sort of crappy medications that come out and the tactics they use to get people to buy into them. People have no sense of prudency. Like you, I’m going “Uhm, why wouldn’t you want to get your blood checked once in a while?” I think everyone should have regular blood testing, intervals depending on what’s going on with them.

Yes, going to the doctor may not be fun but it is very necessary and needed, and in a better system, one shouldn’t be of the mindset “Gee, how can I get out of not getting my health checked up on?”.

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