Is it possible to develop a food sensitivity as an adult?

Over in the “Weird Food Limits” thread in cafe society, a poster mentioned that they had apparently developed a slight allergy to bananas as an adult. I think that something similar may have happened to me.

As a kid, I would occasionally try a little bit of banana to humor my mom and prove that I had tried it before saying I didn’t like it. A decade and a half passes, I eat no bananas. I enter college, and decide that I am too lazy to eat a real meal all the time and occasionally just have a banana for lunch. A few months after this, I am doing the perfectly normal thing of having a banana for a snack. Half and hour to an hour after I finish it, I develop a stomachache. I blame it on my irregular eating habits and spend a few miserable hours (I tried to puke, but I guess I wasn’t really nauseous–just the ache). The next day I am fine. I don’t eat any bananas until a week later, when I get the exact same type of stomachache and figure that the only thing I have eaten on both stomachache days and only on those days was a banana.

I stop eating bananas until a few months later, when I eat a fruit salad. I only ate one little slice of banana, thinking that maybe the other times were coincidence. Well, I was wrong, and had to spend another evening with a stomachache.

Now, this doesn’t seem like a traditional allergy, since I never had any breathing problems or rash, but it does seem like my body is specifically rejecting bananas.

So what is this, if not an allergy? What causes it?

(Of course, not looking for medical advice, I know how to maintain my health in this matter–don’t eat bananas.)

I would say so. I developed an allergy to eggplant as an adult, and I never had it before.

Yes. A friend of mine developed an allergy to sesame at age 50+.

It’s not a mild reaction. He needs to carry one of those pens to prevent anaphylactic shock in case of accidental exposure. No sesame-studded buns, of course. And lots of Asian dishes are also out…

Thirty years of eating shrimp (not constantly though), and then one day couldn’t eat shrimp or other shellfish anymore. I am not sure how far the allergy extends, but I am not up for testing it out.

The Mayo Clinic says yes.

I developed an apparent allergy to chicory root in my mid-30s. It didn’t show on skin testing, but that has a high rate of false negative, no blood test was easily available, and my allergist said that she was frankly against doing an ‘oral challenge’ (feed a substance to me in a capsule and watch for symptoms, it might be the allergen or a placebo) because of how the reaction had been getting much more severe each exposure. So I just read labels very carefully.

It looks like my daughter, now in her mid 20’s, may have in the last few years developed lactose intolerance. They’re still doing some tests.

I’m not sure lactose intolerance qualifies for the OP’s question. I have read here that lactose intolerance is actually the more normal state of being, yet many Europeans and others have developed a lactose tolerance, which does sometimes go away with age.

So, it’s not so much that she’s gained an intolerance as lost a tolerance.

Happened to me. I used to love apples and nuts. Taffee Apples were pure heaven. Then when I hit my late 20’s I found that any time I ate apples or tree nuts that my throat would get scratchy and it became hard to breath. Benedryl would clear it up but I didn’t want to take any chances so I just gave up. The weirdest thing was that I could eat cooked or processed apples, pears and peaches but couldn’t eat them raw. Even just piercing the skin with my teeth was enough to cause a reaction. I could eat applesauce or apple pies or drink apple juice but couldn’t bite into a nice, crisp Granny Smith. It wasn’t until recently that I discovered that I wasn’t the only one with this problem.

My dad got an allergy to strawberries in his late 30s

Sorry for being slightly off topic but it does have to do with allergies! Ive got two guinea pigs and I was ok with them until after maybe a year of having them. Now when I pick them up their fur causes my skin to come out in red itchy spots. Im only 24 and probably developed the allergy a year after having them. Weird!

Absolutely. As a kid, I loved carrots. I would routinely come home from school, peel three large carrots and eat them raw.

Flashforward to college where it started happening that sometimes soon after (or during) eating, my throat would close up (painfully, but not life-threateningly). I eventually tracked it down to raw carrots. Someone later told me that it’s Anaphylaxis. And yes, reasonably well-cooked carrots don’t bother me at all.

It’s annoying living in California and not being able to straighforwardly enjoy most restaurant salads. Every now and then I decide to test it by eating a bit of raw carrot, but so far it’s inevitably a painful test.

Has your daughter been on any antibiotics lately? Some of them can cause lactose intolerance by killing off or interfering with the production of the needed lactase enzymes. This recently happened to my wife. She got back to being reasonably lactose tolerant by eating yogurt and various probiotic products, although it took many months.

After a couple of years of symptoms and all tests coming back negative, my doctor has decided that he’s pretty sure that they’re all caused by irritable bowel syndrome manifesting as stomach pain. At his suggestion, I’m doing a lactose challenge right now (eating no dairy for a couple of weeks, then challenging my system with a bunch of dairy and see how my symptoms go), and so far, it’s looking like dairy is indeed now causing me stomach pains.

Short answer - yes. :slight_smile:

Same with me. Unfortunately I developed the allergy just a year or so after I actually started to like eggplant :frowning:

You’ve got it wrong, antibiotics can kill off your gut flora, some of which can break down lactose by producing lactase. People (and animals) also produce lactase in childhood in order to digest breast milk, but the majority gradually lose this ability upon adulthood. However, some humans (mostly northern Europeans) retain the ability to produce lactase themselves. Having the right gut flora helps with breaking down lactose, especially if you don’t produce lactase, but it’s not going to bring your ability back.

I developed an allergy to birds and feathers, and we had to remove a beautiful down comforter from our bed because it was causing me to have a persistent cough. I’ve owned several birds in the past with no problem.

Yup, me too, became allergic to shrimp when I was about 40. I can eat other shellfish, though (phew, I love crab), and my doctor sees nothing odd about my self-reported allergy and doesn’t see any need to be tested or do anything other than avoid eating shrimp.