About six million young children in the U.S. suffer from food allergies—most commonly to peanuts. Pediatricians and allergy experts once agreed that the best solution was to avoid peanuts altogether, and for years, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advised pregnant women with peanut allergies to stop eating peanuts while pregnant and to not feed peanuts to their children when they started on solid foods.
That changed in recent years, when two major studies proved that advice wrong. In one, the rate of peanut allergies was about 10 times lower for children who ate peanuts from an early age, compared to kids whose parents avoided giving their infants peanuts. Then, a rigorous trial in which young children were assigned to either eat peanuts early or avoid them showed again that kids who were introduced to peanuts when young had up to an 80% lower risk of developing peanut allergies than those who were not.