Is It A Nut?

The word “nut” can appear in foods that are unrelated to peanuts or tree nuts.

Avoiding a problem food becomes more difficult when it shows up in unusual places.

This can be especially confusing for people with nut allergies. That's because the word “nut” can appear in foods that are unrelated to peanuts or tree nuts—and therefore harmless to people with those food allergies.

The following foods are not nuts:

  • Butternut squash
  • Coconut*
  • Nutmeg
  • Water chestnuts

*While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration classifies coconut as a tree nut, it is actually a fruit. Most people with a tree nut allergy can safely eat coconut; consult with your allergist.1

Remember that a person can become allergic to any food, including those listed above. But you can rest assured that these “nuts” contain no nut protein and therefore do not cross-react with tree nuts or peanuts. (And peanuts are technically legumes, anyway!)

For a complete list of tree nuts and related ingredients, please see our article on tree nut allergy.

 

1American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), Tree Nut Allergy, http://www.acaai.org/allergist/allergies/Types/food-allergies/types/Pages/tree-nut-allergy.aspx

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