Growing up, I had an extreme dislike for peanuts, to the point that I would cry when fed them as a baby. My parents had told me at one point that if I tried something many times I would eventually like the taste. I had changed my opinion on many things over the years, such as chicken breast, beans, but never peanuts. When I was 14 years old, my parents wanted to get to the bottom of why I disliked peanuts so much, so I had a scratch test done for allergies and no surprise, peanuts was at the top of the list for what I was allergic to the most. What confused my parents and caused them to think I was not allergic was the fact that I would eat Kettle Brand potato chips on the regular which were cooked in peanut oil with no affects whatsoever. So what is the science behind having an allergic reaction to peanuts, but not peanut oil?
According to this article, there is one big reason why peanut oil would cause no reaction: it is an oil. When antibodies are used to fight off pathogens, they seek out surface proteins to attach to in order to attenuate any pathogen. This is because all living things, including viruses, contain proteins in order to carry out basic biological functions. Therefore any possible threat that can multiply within the body can be targeted. When peanuts are consumed, antibodies are able to attack the available proteins. According to this source, on average, a single peanut can have around 200 milligrams of protein, however a reaction can be caused by as little as 100 micrograms of protein, resulting in a large reaction from small amounts of peanuts. Peanut oil differs from peanuts because an oil only consists of fatty acids. So long as the oil is well refined (usually industrial grade), there is a very unlikely chance that your body can elicit a reaction.
To summarize, while peanuts are known by many to create an intense reaction, the reality is that not everything that is derived from peanuts can cause a reaction. If you do have a peanut allergy and want to try peanut oil, be prepared with an epinephrine auto-injector.
Posted by: Isaac Collibee (4)