Just when you thought all is well on the intestinal front, now that you're eating a gluten-free diet. Be aware of a new ingredient substitute that is being used in some gluten-free flours and products: Lupin or Lupine. It is gaining a foothold in many gluten-free products, says Stefano Lucciioli, MD, a senior medical advisor at the FDA.
Lupin (sometimes called “lupine”) is a legume belonging to the peanut family. It, too, can cause mild to severe allergic reactions to susceptible people. It’s a fairly new ingredient in the U.S. market and unfamiliar to most Americans.
With the ever increasing number of gluten-free foods in the grocery aisles, the potential for those who suffer from peanut allergies and are avoiding gluten as well, rises exponentially. While most parents are trained to look for “peanut” ingredients on a food label for their peanut-allergic child, they may not realize that lupin is also a potential allergen.
Typically, as with most food allergens, some people may develop an allergy to lupin over time. However, for people with an existing peanut or legume allergy, consuming a product containing lupin could cause an allergic reaction on the first exposure. Possible symptoms include hives, swelling lips, vomiting and/or breathing difficulties. If any of these symptoms occur, stop eating the product and seek medical help immediately.
Be sure to keep being a label sleuth. Add “lupin or lupine” as another avoid to your list of ingredients, if you or your child has an allergy to peanuts or legumes.
Jan Phillips, M.Ed.