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Potato Allergy - the Cinderella Food Intolerance

My potato allergy was discovered by accident and caused severe abdominal pain. Since then I've discovered it's a common problem.

Potato Allergy - dangerous, unknown and not catered for by the food industry!

I have a weird and unusual allergy to potatoes. In fact I also have a severe and unpleasant reaction to potato starch in manufactured food. Have you ever checked manufactured food labels for potato flour? I have to do it all the time and there's not much safe to eat! You wouldn't believe what products contain potato starch. Do you know someone allergic to potatoes? No? If I am right, this will be new to you and you will probably refuse to believe it. I am writing this page from personal experience. My experience with potato allergy is an unpleasant one and yet it is met with derision at times and disbelief at others. When I dine out and request no chips because I can't eat potatoes the reaction is invariably either "Would you like a salad?" assuming I am on a diet or "Would you like mash (boiled, roast or jacket) potato instead.


Is Potato Allergy a Real Allergy?

Who has heard of potato allergy?

People tell me potatoes are not a "real allergy". I'm afraid they are! When I buy food in store I have to read every single label. Unbelievably, potato flour has replaced corn flour in cold meat packaging, pastry for sweet dessert (such as Apfelstrudel) thickener in virtually every tin or packaged soup, nearly all ready meals, virtually all vegetarian meat substitutes. I could go on, but just take it from someone who has this particular unpleasant food intolerance, it gets worse every time I shop. To this date I have never had anaphylactic shock, but I watch what I eat like a hawk and have experienced dizziness as well as gastro-intestinal problems. For some people potato allergy can be life threatening and yet increasing we are being forced to eat it in "hidden" form. Even packaging can be made from potato flour, some burger rolls contain it too so junk food is particularly unsafe!

Image of potato is Public Domain from Wikipedia. Modified by Photahsiamirabel for this page.

Potato Allergy can be life threatening - Information and Advice

How I discovered my allergy to potatoes

Curing a chronic ulcer in your twenties!

I don't want to dwell on this too much as it is a tale I have told so many times. My potato allergy was discovered largely by accident. Some allergies are. Sometimes people don't like to call it an allergy because it does not always lead to anaphylactic shock as a nut allergy might, but the symptoms were very unpleasant and I really have to watch what I eat. Like any young person I would eat on the run and in my second job I often used to work in the lunchbreak and snack on coffee and a pack of crisps (chips in the USA). When I had time, I would have a cheese salad and chips (fries in the USA). I started to notice very unpleasant tummy pains in the afternoons. It would pass though. I thought it might be the fat, so I cut the cheese out and had chicken salad instead. No difference....

About a year down the road I would wake up in the night crying with pain in my stomach. My new partner was a vegetarian and his ambition was to live on a vegan diet. He had no clue about balanced nutrition so I cooked for both of us and was, to all intents and purposes, vegan too. We loved Indian food, like samosas, pakoras and various vegetable stews and curries. I had never been a big rice or pasta fan, so we usually had potato in some form, or chapatis, or French bread....

It got so agonising I thought I had cancer. I was scared to visit the doctor, my partner was scared if I didn't, so he threatened to leave me if I didn't get it seen to. The doctor diagnosed an ulcer and prescribed ulcer medication - Zantac at first. This helped for a while. By the time the diagnosis was confirmed by barium meal I was nearly painfree. Three months later it was back. The doctor couldn't understand a chronic ulcer forming in someone in their mid-twenties. Doctor therefore queried my alcohol consumption, smoking habits, diet... then tried me on two antibiotics and a bismuth compound - the standard treatment for Helicobacter Pylorii or ulcer causing bugs. It went, and it returned again... By this time he had me figured either as a secret spirit drinker or an hysteric. I was neither. It was back on the meds again, but I had noticed I was gaining weight.

Gifts for Potato Lovers who can't eat Potatoes! - Safe Uses for Potatoes in Our House!

Here are some fun things that are (relatively) safe uses for potatoes when you can't eat them.

Potato Allergy - could it be Karma?

Just think of all the happy hours we spent sticking things into innocent potatoes. Perhaps potato allergy is karma striking back and punishing potato torturers everywhere?

You want to look like a Potato Head?

OK - well this hat could be just the thing.

Discovering Chemical Allergies and Food Intolerances

A low-carb diet brings a revelation

The only way I can lose weight is on an Atkins style plan. It has always been that way - me and carbs don't get on well - so I went on the classic no bread no potatoes diet. Coincidentally I was also reading a book called, I think, Chemical Victims. After three weeks we were invited to a party and as a reasonable person I don't diet at parties so I indulged in some potato salad - a favorite dish - and I woke up in the night convulsed in pain. For the next three days my belly was swollen but there was no gas, and nothing would move.

A light started to dawn - potato was the only thing I had not eaten for three weeks. If it was an allergy it would have gone in that time from chronic (ulcer forming) to acute (agonising pain and paralysis in the gut). I deliberately tested this by a further three weeks off potatoes and then a portion of chips and the result was equally painful. We had an answer - I eliminated all potatoes from my diet and, as mysteriously as they appeared, the ulcers went. Cue the food industry changes in practice...

Food Allergy and intolerance Resources - But too often not helpful for potato allergies...


By trying to stop other allergies....

Now food manufacturers being aware of gluten intolerance are busy removing wheat flour from many of their products. They have a safer alternative, corn flour, which was used back in the 80s when I had my first potato problems.... However, this has become more expensive and they are now using potato flour as a cheaper and "more flavorsome" alternative.

Every time I go to the store I see a new recipe change, a new thing I can no longer eat. Some of these things are really silly, like pre-cooked meat and apple pie. I am writing this page to make the industry aware that an allergy to potatoes does exist. It runs in my family - my mother and two aunts have a problem with pain after eating potatoes. It also coexists with an allergy to nightshades or solanacea....

The huge industry that has arisen out of allergen free cooking takes no account of potato allergy and recommends potato flour wholesale as completely safe. This is an untruth that needs exposing! Please get off the couch and do something to help us!

I hope you found this page interesting and that you can help make food manufacturers aware they are endangering people's lives with indiscriminate adding of potato to all food types, both sweet and savoury. Thank you for reading.

© 2011 Lisa Marie Gabriel

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Do you have a food allergy? - Do you know anyone affected by potato allergy?

Kris on July 16, 2019:

I am highly allergic to white potatoes and allergic at different levels to other nightshade foods and tobacco. I am anaphlatic ti raw tomatoand egg plant in any form. I am borderline anaphlatic to tobacco.

My potato allergy is the worst to avoid.

Lisa Marie Gabriel (author) from United Kingdom on March 17, 2019:

Anything with modified starch is almost certainly potato starch because it's cheap. They could use any number of ingredients to thicken including arrowroot and glucomannan, which is metabolically inert, but it always comes down to cost.

Susan Battaglia on March 15, 2019:

I have both gluten & severe potato allergies. I found out from a blood test through my Naturopath Doctor. I was given a list from the company that ran the test of want to avoid and what I could eat. I believe it was the Carroll Method. I agree with the other posts stating potatoes are in everything. Regular salt is made with potatoes; most dairy products labeled non-fat or low-fat have potato in them as a thickening agent (but many do not list on the ingredients list).

Casey on December 29, 2017:

My daughter is potato intolerant - we found out using the Dr. Carroll method through a naturopath and it has turned my world upside-down! Potato is in EVERYTHING and I've really had to go back to the basics, but after a week of cutting potato out of my daughter's diet (at 18 months old)...her chronic ear infections just disappeared. No food is worth that kind of discomfort. Research the Carroll method, it is VERY interesting...his belief is that everyone has a basic food they cannot digest appropriately and it is the cause of chronic inflammation and disease in the body. I am so happy I found a naturopath that practices this method!

dorothy on July 19, 2017:

I've had hidradenitis for several years. About a year ago the lesions and boils under my arms became a constant torture my doctor would drain them and prescribe antibiotics, but they came right back. I was researching hidradenitis online when I came across a letter from a woman who found that potatoes was causing her hidradenitis flare ups. I stopped eating potatoes for two weeks and the boils was about gone, however I went to dinner with a friend, who ordered this wonderful potato dish and insisted that I taste it, I had two bites, because I absolutely love potatoes. I awaken the next morning with a red sore spot under my arm this was the beginning of a new boil. When I don't eat potatoes, or large amounts of other nightshade vegetables I stay in remission. I'm very concerned about potatoes in various form being put in so many foods that I can no longer eat after reading the label. I've read several sources which believed that the poison in potatoes affects the immune system.

Sam on March 03, 2016:

I have gotten really sick from etching microwave rice, on the ingredients it says rice, oil and salt... Could it be the salt that contains potatoes which is making me Ill? I found out last summer I have a potato intolerance and I'm fine as long as I avoid it, but every bow and then I get sick and realise potato was in the ingredients!

Sara Phoenix on February 17, 2016:

I am so allergic to them, my downstairs neighbor can't cook them without me swelling up. I can't be near their plants either. I'm also allergic to wheat, tomatoes, bananas fig Kiwi peach grape celery papaya nectarine avocado all melons cherry,strawberry,plum,chestnut pineapple, propylene glycol and hazelnut. I hate food! Lol

casey on May 28, 2015:

I have been so sick for almost two years, largely bloated and a constant upset stomach, turns out im allergic to potatoes. I don't know where to start. Suddenly I can't eat anything I love.

chel on November 05, 2014:

My daughter is allergic to potato. Another place to look for hidden exposure is Cast Iron pans. I use a lot of cast iron. My daughter is married but when she comes for supper she is constantly getting exposed. We finally traced it to the cast iron pans or baking stones. We didn't cook potato but the fact that potatoes had been cooked at some point it was enough trace material to make her sick.

If fries had been cooked in a fryer then later chicken - sick.

Another source was Vitamin B. Sometimes cultured on Potatoes.

Thank you for your article. Most people are so unaware if this allergy including the medical field.

Lisa Marie Gabriel (author) from United Kingdom on September 13, 2014:

Possibly potato starch? Very often potato starch is used in ready grated cheese to stop it sweating and clumping too much. I can't eat ready grated cheese these days for that reason.

Kris on September 13, 2014:

I knew I had a problem with potatoes, but I attributed it to blood sugar. After another trip to the ER, I found out it didn't affect the blood sugar. A shot of Benadryl and I'm feeling much better. Now here's the kicker, all I did was try a tiny sample that was being demonstrated at a store. It had salsa mix, cheese, and corn mixed together. Where would the potato be in that?

tadpole0217 on July 07, 2014:

I am extremely allergic to potatoes (read, anaphylaxis)! I hate going out to eat. If I try to switch sides to my meal, they always offer more potatoes. At home, even preparing potatoes makes my throat itch. Some people don't believe me and have served me dishes with potatoes. I've gone to the hospital twice this way. I even had one person say (after I ate the soup with potatoes and called her out on the ingredients), "Yeah, there are potatoes. But you'll be fine, right?" Now, wherever we are, I just ask up front if there are any potatoes and can I see the ingredient list (if we're at a friend's).

yukongirl on April 23, 2014:

@Khowebunga: Hooray, now there are two of us :) For pizza, I only eat it at a couple places I know that are "real" Italian, that use only the highest quality ingredients (i.e. no cheap luncheon meats) and make everything from scratch, or I just make it myself. I'm usually more concerned about the dough or the meat containing potato starch. I've met lots of people over the years who make homemade bread but use the water left over from cooking potatoes as "flavour" and to make it a little thicker (my grandma used to do this). Almost all frozen pizzas I've seen (or pizza pops) have potato starch listed as an ingredient, but who knows whether it's in the dough, cheese, meat, or maybe all three. Definitely way more things out there now that contain potato starch than there used to be, I think a lot related to trying to make things cheaper (it's a filler). I always check ingredients, even on things that I've bought before, because I have seen it get suddenly "added" to the list. I agree with the post above from bridub09...sometimes it would be nice to just grab a frozen dinner or go out and eat at a restaurant, without it being either impossible or a major ordeal that turns out to be more stressful than just staying home and cooking something!

Other info in these posts is pretty scary, though...I didn't realize how much gluten free foods have potato-derived stuff in them, and potato-derived vitamins in the Minute Maid apple juice?? I would NEVER have thought of that...have had lots of "mystery" reactions over the years, where the allergen was obviously somewhere but never figured out where. We all avoid things where we can, but hard to avoid when you don't even know it's there.

I don't know much about these types of forums, or if there's a way we can communicate directly via e-mail?

Khowebunga on April 16, 2014:

@yukongirl: I'm also allergic to potato and get anaphylaxis reactions! We should exchange notes, as I've been allergic all my life as well and am still learning what contains potato. Can you eat pizza from a pizza shop? I know shredded cheese can contain potato starch, but I'm not sure if it's just the kind you'd get in the grocery store.

bridub09 on April 16, 2014:

I found out I had a potato intolerance about a year ago, with a blood test my naturopathic dr. did, on top of the moderate gluten and slight dairy intolerance's I already knew I had. Eliminating potato from my diet was/is the most daunting challenge I have ever encountered. Not only is potato in almost every gluten free flour/packaged foods but it is even in table salt (since food companies often derive iodine from potato, iodized table salt is a hidden potato source) On top of all the clue words I've learned for gluten over the past 5 years, I then had to learn the key words for potato. I honestly think that I became potato intolerant mostly because of gluten free foods and flour. Since potato is such a staple for GF diets there's a good chance the increase in my potato consumption left me intolerant. Going to the grocery store became a lot easier, since I now only hit the produce section and the natural section (for brown rice flour) I have become healthier from this change, since I can't eat any processed foods, but sometimes it would be nice to just grab a box of something from the natural food store to cook a quick easy meal, but even that isn't safe! .I have to say that my local natural market has been a life saver. I've been able to try a lot of substitutions (flours) without having to order the ingredients online. I purchased a Soyajoy soy milk maker (to make almond milk) since you can't purchase dairy free milk without some source of potato in it. I can't even drink 100% minute made apple juice because they just have to add a ton of vitamins to it that are often derived from potato, so I also purchased a juicer. I started seeing an acupuncturist 6 months ago and I have actually seen results in my digestion. I will not ever eat potato knowingly again, but acupuncture has helped with the bloating and discomfort I find when I eat some veggies and even dairy. The FDA infuriates me, they don't do their job appropriately/thoroughly enough. It should be 100% illegal to leave any ingredients off of your labels, and companies should be reprimanded for doing so. Of course, if the government would stop experimenting with GMO's maybe our produce and meat would have enough natural nutrients that they wouldn't have to add a ton of extra vitamins to it to compensate. We need to take a note from European countries and ban these practices. I believe it would alleviate a lot of peoples allergies. I'm glad I found your blog. People look at me like I have 3 heads when I tell them "not thanks I can't eat that I have a potato intolerance". It's nice to see that there are other people who understand how difficult this lifestyle is.


Lisa Marie Gabriel (author) from United Kingdom on April 02, 2014:

@yukongirl: Wow! I am so lucky my symptoms are only gastrointestinal ones! I have had the "scrape them off the plate" scenario too and it just isn't good enough. I wrote this page to try to alert the food industry to the problem and was gratified to see that Heinz have stopped putting potato flour in some of their soups. Whether it is because of the fuss I made or other people I don't know, but I can now eat my favourite pea and ham soup without dire consequences. I am so glad I don't go into anaphylaxis, but I am surprised to see how many do and dismayed that nobody seems to take it seriously. Good luck with the potato free lifestyle! {{{hug}}}

yukongirl on April 01, 2014:

Wow, I have finally found a potato allergy page!

I am fatally (anaphylaxis) allergic to potatoes and have been since I was a baby. My parents used to make us baby food just by throwing leftovers in the blender and every once in a while I would turn blue and they'd be rushing me to the hospital. So we found out early that I couldn't eat them, but when I was about 5 found out that I couldn't touch them either (our class at school was making potato pancakes and I thought I would help grate the potatoes just not eat to the hospital I went). My allergy is so severe that airborne vapours from cooking potatoes also sets off an anaphylactic reaction (this has happened enough times over the years that I know it's a fact - in restaurants and people's homes). I've read that people with seafood allergies can experience the same thing. Even if I don't see the potatoes, I can tell within about 5 minutes that there are some as I can feel my airway starting to close. If I get out right away, it usually doesn't get any worse (although I stay kind of wheezy for hours afterwards), but it happens so fast. My allergies have never gotten any better or lessened over the years - they are just as serious now as they ever were - I have just gotten better at avoiding situations where I might be exposed.

So many people really don't understand how serious allergies are - I very rarely go to restaurants, and if I do it has to be in the summer when I can eat outdoors and away from the kitchen cooking vapours - but I once went and ordered a sandwich and asked for a salad instead of fries. The girl came back with fries on the plate - I had already explained that I wasn't on a diet and it wasn't that I didn't like potatoes, it was that I would literally die in front of her if I ate them, but explained it again and then asked her if I could get another one. My friend happened to be going inside to the bathroom and watched her literally scrape the fries off the plate into the garbage and plunk some salad down right where the fries had been. People who do not have family members or friends with allergies, or who have never seen what an anaphylactic reaction looks like, have no clue and think we are being overly "paranoid", or that it is the same as people who choose not to eat certain foods. My mom had to give me mouth-to-mouth and perform CPR while waiting for the ambulance once, and even then I was clinically dead for a few minutes, and my friends who have seen me in the middle of a reaction are now even more "paranoid" than me, so once you've seen it (or gone through it) you never want to see it again. I had bad experiences with roommates at university who "forgot" and cooked potatoes in the house, so I had to go sleep at the library while they cleaned the place out, and even had boyfriends who "forgot" and ate potatoes and then kissed me (which was figured out after the trip to the hospital).

I read labels on everything (you wouldn't believe how much stuff has potato starch in it - luncheon meats, crackers, soups, lots of other things they use it as a "filler" for. And lately I've found things that I would never have thought of looking for potato starch in - licorice allsorts, that flavoured crab meat you can get at the deli, ) and pretty much cook all my own food from scratch. I also have some other weird allergies (I can eat peanuts and almonds but anaphylactic to all other nuts), but that's another whole story and another whole host of things to avoid. No one in my family has any allergies at all. I've made it to 40 but definitely not without many close calls. I virtually never eat out in restaurants, and I have to call ahead to friends and family and "arrange" a time to go to their house when they haven't cooked any potatoes for a couple days and have scrubbed down their kitchen. Bring my own shopping bags to the grocery store so I don't have to use a cart or basket that might have had potatoes in it, lots of other things that I do to try to avoid possible exposure, but extremely difficult because potatoes are so prevalent everywhere and really the only truly safe place where I'm not risking my life is my own house (but I choose not to live locked up in my house, I am as careful as I can be but try not to be so paranoid that it prevents me from doing the things I enjoy).

Anyway, it's interesting to read these other posts. There are so many more allergies now (I grew up in a small town but remember there was only me and one other kid in the whole school who had allergies) so I definitely don't feel as much like the "weirdo" anymore :) I'll keep coming back to see what else people are saying, after years of Internet searching there's still very little info on potato allergies.


piggypoke on March 15, 2014:

I was sick for 13 months, couldn't figure out why i was always having bouts of "asthmatic bronchitis" that landed me in the emergency room. I thought my new role at my job was making me sick. I couldn't walk 20 ft to the bathroom by the time i worked all day. Im only 42. I have eaten potatoes all my life. With multiple dr visits and prednisone, antibiotics, inhalers and anything else my doctor could think to throw at me, he told me to go home and start living my life like a copd pt. I am an rn, so i knew it wasn't right. My first dr visit was after i had been working out for awhile and then decided to add a multi-vitamin to my regimen. That's when it all started. 13 months later, we went out with another couple and she noticed I wasn't coughing or wheezing at any point until we started to eat. Because I am a little weird and eat one food item at a time, she was able to think back to what I had took a bite of first. so then we tested it, yep it was the taters. I really miss them and I have since added instant oatmeal to my list of allergies, as well as ramen noodles, (really miss them too). I have switched most of my vitamins to gel or gummy and am doing fine. I have not had one episode or dr appt since we figured it out about 4 months ago. It is amazing, but i get upset. There is little to no information available. My dr doesn't even know that im better because frankly, i don't like him anymore. So, i am ok with not eating potatoes but I can tell that there is something else going on. There are days that I wake up and feel like I ran a marathon in my sleep. My thighs are so sore. I need to start a food journal, duh. anyway, i am really glad that i found this page, thank you and don't worry, people think im crazy when i say that im allergic to potatoes. My husband and children also had to adjust and forget every now and again but at least im not sick. Thanks for listening.

TerriCarr on March 04, 2014:

I have never heard of being allergic to potatoes. But there is something new cropping up every day so I shouldn't be surprised. At least you CAN'T eat potato chips. That is kind of a blessing in disguise.

AllergyGirl on January 09, 2014:

This story is so similar to mine! and found it out by a low carb diet as well.. living potato & additive free for 3 years now (almost went into anaphalictical shock, because of cherry pie filling a year ago). recently developed a intollerance to gluten, soy, dairy, sulphites & chickpeas as well. Im in asia now for treatment (long story) they say it might cure the allergy (as it can be develop from a sick liver&gallbladder, parasite&bacterial overgrowth in small intestine, mucoid plaque overload in the bowel & heay metal poisoning... which appears i have all) I keep you updated !! and if it true and cures (one of) my allergies. Ill keep you updated!!

anonymous on August 31, 2013:

I understand your pain. I recently was diagnoised with a potato and soy allergy and my daughter has an egg allergy. When I say I can't have something with those ingredients they look at me like I am looney. I have been looking for some recipes so thanks for the links and thanks for helping educate the masses and food manufactuers!

anonymous on August 14, 2013:

Thanks for all the information. I just ate some boiled new white potatoes because I didn't believe I could have an intolerance for something as innocent as a potato and the nausea has started. I'm praying I don't end up vomitting violenting like I have in the past. Then I blamed it on the skins or a slight greenish tinge to the potato. After doing some research it's clear what's going on and I will not be eating potatoes again. Which is a shame because I love them. But how they affect me is intense and not worth it.

Julia Morais on August 13, 2013:

I've never heard of this allergy before. This lens is really educational. I don't have any food allergies (thank God, since I love eating) and I'm only aware of the most common ones like nuts, onions, seafood and beef.

NeuroCoach4ADD on August 13, 2013:


BRAND new here (dashboard tells me I'm Squidoo's newest user) - still exploring and found this Lens. So I'm posting my first comment before I even have a profile together.

I admit I have never heard of potato allergies, but I wanted your readers to be aware of what I term "cognitive allergies" (and most docs call "food sensitivities" ::groan::) - the symptoms are brain-based instead of (or in addition to) body-based, and often show up long before the more advanced stages you describe.

Certain days you notice you can't think very well, or that your brain feels "foggy" (like you never really woke up), or that you become highly distractible (which makes you grouchy) or impulsive (which makes THEM grouchy) -- which more people tend to notice but ascribe to "moodiness" or "selfishness" -- or you can't stay focused when you try to read, kinda' forget some part of complicated plot-twist coming back to the show after a commercial break, or struggle to recall names of people or places you've known for years, etc. -- or maybe it makes you "antsy" (foot jiggling, hair twoozling, nail-biting "soft" signs of hyperactivity, if not a full-blown case of can't-sit-still.)

A great many ADDers (officially "ADHD" - I don't use the "h") have cognitive allergies to food dyes and what Dr. Charles Parker ( calls "the New Jersey Trifecta" -- wheat, milk & eggs -- exacerbating symptoms and/or reducing or eliminating medication effectiveness.

In the more neurotypical population, symptoms can be severe enough to mimic ADD (probably the source of the debunked myth that ADD is "caused" by food allergies).

Somewhere on Squidoo, once I have time to learn my way around, I'll add more about my theory of what's going on there (ultimately gut-related), but if you or your readers have days when "senior moments" abound, check for what you've eaten and suspect a potential "cognitive allergy." Proceed from there the same way you would for a "normal" allergy - omit for 3 weeks, then eat the food, hide and watch. Document, in many cases changes are subtle at first.

Once you understand what you are dealing with, you can "ride the line," depending on the demands of your life - but you WILL have to pay close attention. It hits everyone differently in terms of severity, area of impact, and duration. Write it down in your datebook - you really won't recall otherwise, I promise.

In my case, never a big milk drinker to begin with, I was stunned when, over 20 years ago, my attempt to make SURE I got my calcium made me practically certifiable! The brain-fog settled in just slowly enough that, once I seemed crazier than a Junebug and barely able to hide it, I really thought it HAD to be something else.

So I no longer drink milk, rarely eat cereal unless it is dry, choose milk-based recipes (even cream sauces or gravy) carefully and rarely -- but I can't imagine a life without ice cream! So I "ride the line" -- no ice cream if I have to present or have an interview in the subsequent 3 days, am on a writing deadline, upgrading my technology (always iffy anyway) - etc. -- but I haven't tossed ice cream from my diet altogether, even though I know I will be foggy once I eat it.

In somebody else's case (or their kid's), they may have to eliminate [whatever it is that causes the brain-fuzz] altogether, for a week before midterms, limit it to vacations only, etc.

I can't say, but I can't help but wonder if somebody had caught your allergy before it became so extreme, if your reaction now would force TOTAL avoidance, but in any case, it never hurts to have an early warning signal in any case, huh? So watch for it. Food allergies seldom ride alone!

Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CMC, SCAC, MCC

- ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder -

(blogs: ADDandSoMuchMore, ADDerWorld & ethosconsultancynz - dot com)

"It takes a village to educate a world!"

ArtWebb on August 08, 2013:

I just recently discovered that the stomach problems I had for years are caused by allergy to potatoes.

Not only potatoes, but to tomatoes and all of the veggies of the same plant family. Especially in processed foods. Apparently I'm not the only one.

Lisa Marie Gabriel (author) from United Kingdom on August 08, 2013:

@Corrinna-Johnson: That is nightshade vegetables isn't it. One of the ways allergies develop is through overexposure to things and those are in everything ready made. No wonder allergies are increasing!

Lisa Marie Gabriel (author) from United Kingdom on August 08, 2013:

@BarbaraCasey: I just wish they wouldn't pile in a bit of this and a bit of that all the time. Simple is best!

Lisa Marie Gabriel (author) from United Kingdom on August 08, 2013:

@Pat Goltz: I love onions, but I have a very dear friend who is allergic to onions and garlic, so has even more problems. You are right that they are not necessary, but it sucks when food makers put them in everything. I need to look at morgellons - I have never heard of them and they sound bad! At the moment I am experimenting baking with spelt. It is an early variety of wheat related to emmett. Still has gluten though. It tastes really good in muffins.

Lisa Marie Gabriel (author) from United Kingdom on August 08, 2013:

@Virginia Allain: It was a book called "Chemical Victims" that put me on to the kind of allergy testing you can do for yourself. The first step with a food intolerance is to go to a "stone age diet" - nothing processed at all, no wheat, no nuts, no nightshade vegetables, shellfish, milk products, eggs, cook-in sauces, pickles, ketchup, meat... Just basically brown rice (some people only eat brown rice) and very simple vegetables and fruits excluding the common allergens or anything you suspect. If that eliminates the problem then you can start challenging with new or suspect foods one at a time after 10 days or so. (One at a time so you can be sure if a reaction does occur it is down to that food.) You can learn a lot by keeping a food diary and record of symptoms too. We discovered our cat was allergic to turkey by keeping a diary of his symptoms and what he ate!

Virginia Allain from Central Florida on August 08, 2013:

I'm thinking my husband has some sort of food intolerance, but was guessing it was wheat. I need to find a book or how to identify what food is causing the problem.

Pat Goltz on August 07, 2013:

I have a similar problem. I am allergic to onions. You wouldn't BELIEVE how many products have onions in them. Any kind of prepared food, from canned soups to frozen dinners, can have onions in them. It is so pervasive a problem that probably 90% of the products they sell are things I can't eat! Onions are on the second of three lists of common allergens. The only allergens they tend to pay attention to (sometimes) are the ones on the first list. But you know, you really don't NEED onions in a dish to make it interesting and flavorful. Garlic works equally well, and few people are allergic to garlic. I'm not, and neither are any family members who ARE allergic to onions. They use onions because they're cheap and slightly sweet. So kudos to you for highlighting a common problem: failure to pay attention to the less common allergens, which make life a living hot place for some of us and curtail our choices drastically. And by the way, corn flour is no answer. About 85% of corn here is genetically engineered, and these can make people VERY SICK, including huge cancerous tumors and morgellons. You don't want to know about morgellons. These are little fibers that grow through the skin. They itch and hurt. They're made of the same genetic material as in the viruses they use to transport genetic traits into GMOs. The only treatment I know of is lifelong use of colloidal silver. There is one brand that doesn't cause argyria: NutraSilver, and it's very expensive to do that long term. So PLEASE don't suggest corn flour as an alternative. It is not acceptable! There are plenty of other starches they could use that aren't a problem as far as I know. How about arrowroot, or any other grain (quinoa, amaranth, etc.) I may make further comments after I have digested your lens (pun intended) but I have to go run errands now.

BarbaraCasey on August 07, 2013:

Oh yeah, food allergies R Us. My son is allergic to soy... which is now everywhere, kind of like your potato starch. And salads? They now have to be lettuce-free and celery-free. Potatoes, now... that's a real bummer. I've removed enough of my allergic items that I can eat a few of the others in small doses... including chocolate! Great lens... and also a really super article about the lens that brought me here.

oztoo lm on August 07, 2013:

Thanks for sharing your story and I'm glad that at least you found the cause of your problems. I had no idea that potato starch was used in so many products. That's a real eye opener. Getting manufacturers to change this would be nigh on impossible I imagine. After all how many people need gluten free products as opposed to potato free products. I imagine many people would not realize if they have an allergy to potato.

Corrinna Johnson from BC, Canada on August 07, 2013:

Thanks for this great article. My daughter is allergic to tomatoes, onions, garlic and peppers (so far, potatoes are okay, thank goodness), but I am stunned by the blatant comments people make to me and my daughter, who insist there is no such thing, and we are being drama queens. She gets severe dermatitis and respiratory symptoms, and the reactions are worsening with each exposure. She even has one friend whose Dad insists that we are wrong and would purposely make her eat them. Sad to say, she is no longer allowed to go there, and she lost one of her best friends, as a result. I can't imagine the difficulties you have trying to avoid potato starch and I definitely agree that people need to be educated about the lesser known food allergies and food packaging should be labeled more clearly!

Nancy Carol Brown Hardin from Las Vegas, NV on August 07, 2013:

Wow, never knew someone could be allergic to potatoes, but of course, now that I think about it, why not? I'm beginning to wonder what I'm allergic to, because I have some similar symptoms from time to time. But I think mine may be wheat related. This is an excellent, helpful page for people experiencing ANY food allergy, because it alerts them to the symptoms a food allergy can cause.

Laurel Johnson from Washington KS on August 07, 2013:

Thanks so much for sharing your story. I had never heard of a potato allergy so this information is very helpful.

Stephen J Parkin from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada on August 07, 2013:

I was not aware of potato allergy before, but do suffer from allergic asthma. Just one cigarette in an open plan office used to trigger me. I have discovered that it is not usually the food itself, but what they treat it with that often triggers allergies. The other major factor is the in-discriminant use of anti-biotics which deplete the good stomach bacteria, which then need to be reestablished but most doctors do not tell you this or are unaware themselves. Often it is a combination of the chemicals smoke and anti-biotics, which makes it extremely difficult to find the underlying cause. I am glad you found the culprit and can now lead a reasonably normal life again. Well done on the LOTD.

I am sure many people are suffering without knowing the cause of their problems. I once went into anaphylactic shock after eating shrimps, but had never had it happen before or since. The doctor told me that it was not the shrimp, but what it had been eating that caused my problem. Since they like to live by sewer outfalls I can only imagine what it might have been! The real problem is not always the food but what man chooses to treat it with. In your case though it is the nightshade family and that should not be a huge surprise as it includes poisonous plants.

Heather Burns from Wexford, Ireland on August 07, 2013:

I have a similar reaction to soy and in fact my symptoms are even worse so I understand. Also potatoes are nightshade veggies and many people are allergic to them and don't know. I have a problem with them too, but not as bad as yours. Always loved the lens.

Angela F from Seattle, WA on August 07, 2013:

I never knew about potato allergies - thanks for shining the light.

jacquiobrien on August 07, 2013:

Excellent article! I suffer from Psoriasis and avoid all nightshades as they aggravate my skin. I also find that food manufacturers are adding potato to more and more foods, especially gluten-free foods. I also find it helpful to avoid too much wheat and this is made very difficult by the increasing use of potato and potato starch in GF products.

Maria Burgess from Las Vegas, Nevada on August 07, 2013:

This is a new allergy but I am not surprised. There are many ways a human body can be overly sensitive to things. Starches seem to be a big culprit with reactions. We have to check for soy and it is really tough to find things that don't contain it in some form.Thank you for sharing this. I am sure it will help many people target what is really ailing them!

ChristyZ on August 07, 2013:

I never thought about how they add potato to so many thing, it must be difficult for you. I'm lactose intolerant but because it's so common they make a lot of alternative products. I'm glad you figured out what you were allergic to on your own so you can avoid it. Terrific lens!

anonymous on July 28, 2013:

My boyfriend and I both have severe potato intolerance. We also deal with the struggle to find suitable prepared foods. I am also intolerant to wheat and newly allergic to most fruits. I'm on a mission to reverse these ailments with probiotics, stress management and proper sleep. Wish me luck.

Cara on July 11, 2013:

My youngest son has a food allergy. Life is also made very difficult by the "may contain" warnings on packets. It doesn't mean it will contain just maybe!

DebW07 on July 01, 2013:

Potatoes are one of my favorite foods, I would lose a major food group if I had an allergy to them. Great info.

TanoCalvenoa on July 01, 2013:

Great lens. I'm extremely allergic to mushrooms (twice I've become unconscious for 16 hours with a 103 temperature). Mushrooms are not identified well in ingredients list, but are in more products than people know. Thy prominently say when wheat, peanut, and a few common allergens are in products but not less common ones like what you or I have trouble with.

hntrssthmpsn on June 13, 2013:

I'm blessed with a stomach that can handle pretty much anything (and cursed with an appetite that frequently tests that assertion!), but I have a dear friend with multiple allergies, sensitivities, and intolerances to various foods. When it comes to potatoes, she's had great results with jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes) as a substitute. Cooked, they're like potatoes, raw more like water chestnuts. They get their texture from inulin fiber rather than starch, and so are also a nice potato alternative for diabetics. And they offer pretty flowers up top and grow so easily they can become an invasive weed. We love 'em on the grill, where you'd swear you were just eating grilled potato wedges.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on April 27, 2013:

this is unusual but this what the doctor advised us with our allergies, to track the food we eat and just find out in the pattern what triggers the allergy. Am glad you found that out.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on April 27, 2013:

this is unusual but this what the doctor advised us with our allergies, to track the food we eat and just find out in the pattern what triggers the allergy. Am glad you found that out.

anonymous on April 05, 2013:

@anonymous: I just discovered this article and want to respond to your post. Maybe your son is different, but I have a potato intolerance and I'm not able to eat sweet potatoes or yams, or any type of potato AT ALL.

I enjoy different types of squash (butternut squash is my favorite) and pumpkin, and put turnips in stews instead of potatoes, etc. I hope you find something he enjoys!

anonymous on April 05, 2013:

Thanks so much for making people more aware of this! I also discovered that I have a potato intolerance (in addition to some other things), and it's been a huge challenge, especially when eating out.

Indeed potato is SO pervasive. Many people don't realize that potato is even in milk and milk products, as the added Vitamin A is derived from potatoes! I'm NOT lactose intolerant, but do react to the potato in milk and milk products.

Also, food intolerances aren't just about the reaction, as our intolerances also interfere with our body's ability to absorb essential nutrients from the food in order to function properly. My naturopathic doctor discovered my intolerance after I sprained a ligament in my knee when simply walking normally. He said that my food intolerances have prevented my body from absorbing the nutrition from the food. My ligament was weak and couldn't do it's 'job' properly because of being deprived of essential nutrients for a long time. That was an eye-opener!

I'm feeling much better these days, but still figuring things out and trying to get healthier.

Lorelei Cohen from Canada on March 07, 2013:

Excellent article on food allergies. I have 2 profiles here on Squidoo, my other is Ladymermaid, and I would like to thank you for bringing awareness of the dangers of consuming common nightshade plants such as the potato. I hope you are doing well.

anonymous on March 03, 2013:

I have a fatal allergy to potatoes - runs in the family - and have to carry an epiPen in case of cross-contamination. Restaurants can be a nightmare because they don't believe you. Thank you for helping bring this allergy to light!

Lisa Marie Gabriel (author) from United Kingdom on February 22, 2013:

@anonymous: Thank you :) I think allergy awareness is important. I love nuts for instance, but had to stop eating them in school because some children had bad problems! There are lots of different allergies, some of them are quite odd.

anonymous on February 22, 2013:

Just saw the Squidliking Quest: Happy Birthday Mr. Gorey! and submitted this, what perfect timing to find this very unique lens.

anonymous on February 22, 2013:

Also FB liked this important information.

anonymous on February 22, 2013:

I'm so glad you were finally able to find the culprit so you don't have to suffer anymore or continue with the damage caused by ulcers. I'm raising my hand as one who has never heard of potato allergy and I can imagine that most people haven't heard of it either and wouldn't even think of potato starch doing them harm. I was especially surprised that even potato chips brought that agony. I had not heard of a paralysis in the gut gut, what a helpless feeling! My Mom was just talking about an allergy to oatmeal and even broke out on her face when she used a lotion with it and hasn't been able to eat it for years. Thank you for sharing your story so others may learn and spared the suffering. I've heard of other nightshades causing problems, so I guess if sensitive to one, look out for the others that may also be a problem

kabbalah lm on February 21, 2013:

First time I've heard of this allergy

happymonkeyz on February 19, 2013:

interesting to know that there is potato allergy.

anonymous on February 16, 2013:

Potato allergy is hard to deal with but my son also is allergic to sweet potatoes, wheat, rice, corn, tree nuts, peanuts, barley, peas, ham, and borderline for a few more. So my heart goes out to anyone that has to try to find a different way to make delicious food . It is hard to not get discouraged.

Jogalog on February 14, 2013:

We eat so many potatoes and potato products that it must be a really difficult allergy to cope with. Blessed.

hungry-deer on February 09, 2013:

Thanks God i do not. Never heard of potato allergies either. Very interesting informative lens

Cheryl Fay Mikesell from Mondovi, WI on January 16, 2013:

I'm trying tired figure food allergies right now as well among a few other things. Kinda sucks when you so much pain and not sure what it's coming from. Good thing you figured out the allergy to potatoes.

anonymous on November 24, 2012:

I have potato allergies...last year an internist had me to do a long elimination diet after my celiac diagnosis, and found that potatoes caused me great pain. I'd always known I could not eat tomatoes also. I'd go forever without eating anything with potatoes, and once in a while have something with a small amount in it, to suffer the pains the next few days. Last night, stupid me, ate a serving of scalloped potatoes and ham that my husband had made post-Thanksgiving. Within a couple of hours, I started with tachycardia, severe panic attacks, swelling, sweating, shakes, my heart was near 200bpm. I thought I would lose consciousness, but having been used to reactions over my life (I'd gone most of my 30 years undiagnosed but suffering allergic reactions such as this), I made it through, after much diarrhea also. Felt like I was hit by a truck today and had to sleep a lot, lost 4 pounds overnight, and I will be avoiding any source of potato absolutely from now on. Not taking my chances again.

bossypants on October 27, 2012:

Very enlightening! I had never heard of potato allergies and it sounds very unpleasant. Congratulations on figuring it out. This lens may well save someone's life -- or at least spare them years of agony.

danae-torre on October 16, 2012:

Been going gluten/grain/dairy/soy/legume/sugar/sad/gmo free for a while and low carb. Thought I would shock my system into fat loss with a potato fast...quickly found out I'm allergic from burning throat, swollen tongue, heart palps, respiratory distress and severe stomach issues. Never even knew potato allergy existed, I remember loving potatoes years ago. As soon as I put a piece in my mouth, I knew something was wrong...tasted peppery? Just FYI. Thanks for the post, good to read that Im not alone.

Lisa Marie Gabriel (author) from United Kingdom on September 26, 2012:

@anonymous: Sweet potatoes are fine, also carrots, turnips. Parsnips are good too :) All can be made into chips or roasted in the oven. For more carbs, see my original answer :) Good luck!

Lisa Marie Gabriel (author) from United Kingdom on September 26, 2012:

Brandon - I approved your comment and it disappeared - in answer to your question, sweet potatoes are not related to regular potatoes in any way, so should be safe. Potatoes are a nightshade plant though, so check how your son reacts to tomatoes and peppers. I am OK with them, but some are not. Sweet potatoes should be fine, bread, rice, noodles etc too unless he is gluten intolerant. Complex carbs in beans and fruit will help keep him going too. Good luck!

anonymous on September 25, 2012:

We are discovering my son has a potato allergy. What alternatives have you found? Other root vegetables that you eat instead of potato? Is sweet potato too closely related?

Peggy Hazelwood from Desert Southwest, U.S.A. on September 21, 2012:

This is very interesting. I don't think I'm allergic to potatoes or carbs but that's one way I can "easily" lose weight. I don't think it's easy though since I love bread, taters, etc!

Miha Gasper from Ljubljana, Slovenia, EU on September 17, 2012:

Never heard about allergy on potatoes... But it makes sense. Thanks for the info!

Lisa Marie Gabriel (author) from United Kingdom on September 16, 2012:

@elearah: Good point - but I think my problems began well before GMO foods were widespread...

elearah on September 16, 2012:

Do you have the same reactions with non gmo organic potatoes? Many allergies are actually the natural reaction of the body to poisoning.

chas65 on September 14, 2012:

My wife has a food sensitivity to corn, which like potaatoes is in everything. It aggravates her rheumatoid arthritis and can cause real pain. She didn't develop this until she was 60.

mumsgather on September 11, 2012:

I don't have any known food allergies but I've noticed that every time I eat peanuts, I breakout in pimples almost immediately!

malena10 on September 07, 2012:

No food allergy, but I have allergy on grasses.

Linda Pogue from Missouri on August 30, 2012:

There are so many food triggers for allergies. I hadn't heard about potatoes being one of them. Good information. Blessings!

Liz Mackay from United Kingdom on August 02, 2012:

This could really help someone going through the same symptoms. Blessed.

Ruthi on July 28, 2012:

Oh my! I am so glad you discovered what your painful problem was, but sorry to hear it is a potato allergy. I am so glad I do not have an allergy to potatoes as they are one of my comfort foods of choice.

lynnasafriend on July 28, 2012:

What a terrible allergy to have, there are so many things good with potatoes.

anonymous on July 28, 2012:

My daughter (now 5) has this allergy. It was picked up by my gp when she was 7 months old. Thankfully he has been supportive (as the hospital dietitian told me it was in my head & nobody is allergic to potatoes or tomatoes!) We have learnt to live with it & when she goes to sleepovers at grandparents we eat potato dishes. I now just make everything from scratch just like our grandparents did!

anonymous on July 16, 2012:

i've been suffering for months with stomach issues which i believed to be a gallstone problem. i did the liver flush many times but continue to have these attacks. the one thing that all my attacks have in common is the potato. so i removed them from my diet and though it has only been a week i feel better and hope that i've had my last attack. i truly believe that for some reason unknown i have become allergic to potatoes. i am 40

anonymous on July 02, 2012:

I'm just coming off the Atkins diet, and behold during my 4 months on it, no stomach issues. Tonight we had steak and potatoes, and within an hour I'm double over with cramping :(. This prompted me to start researching the possibility of potato allergies, although I've never heard of it. I'm thinking this may be my problem.....

Coreena Jolene on April 02, 2012:

Thanks for sharing this. We have lots of food allergies in our family. I went through something similar to you with blueberries. Our bodies let us know what we can't eat when we take time to figure it out.

anonymous on December 06, 2011:

I don't have any kind of allergy from any food. I only have allergy from sinus issues. I have just started using Netipot & have relief from sinus issues.

privresearch on October 13, 2011:

never knew that there is a potato allergy. thanks for info

Ellen Gregory from Connecticut, USA on October 10, 2011:

Very interesting. Until reading this, I would of thought of potatoes as a "safe" food such as rice.

Heather Burns from Wexford, Ireland on October 09, 2011:

Very important topic, food allergies. Did you know that there is gluten in potatoes? And as a nightshade veggie, it is a problem for many who don't know it. I am severely gluten intolerant, and cannot eat potatoes without agony. I cannot even eat legumes, as they also have some gluten. That's one reason why soybeans are so evil. They also have gluten. But I won't hijack your lens:) Great job. Stay away from potatoes, we need your music!

Wednesday-Elf from Savannah, Georgia on October 09, 2011:

Very interesting and informative. My aunt was gluten-intolerant, and I've known people with various 'food-related' allergies (nuts & shellfish, in particular), but this is my first awareness that people can be intolerant to 'potatoes'.

Heather B on October 09, 2011:

I don't have any food allergies, but one boy in that class that I teach was allergic to everything. You couldn't even touch him if you'd just eaten a kiwi, for example. I felt ever so sorry for him.

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