Contrary to what parents have been told for, oh forever, a new study now guggests that parents should feed their infants peanuts (well, peanut butter, so they don’t choke) to prevent them from developing an allergy later on.
The research, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, studied infants in London who were at high risk for developing a peanut allergy (decided by if they had severe eczema or an egg allergy). Each was randomly assigned to be fed food containing peanuts or not, until the child turned five. And they found that those who ate peanuts all along were far less likely to develop an allergy to them — after an allergy test when they turned five, 13.7% of kids avoiding peanuts had developed an allergy, whereas only 1.9% of the kids who ate them had.
READ MORE: 5 Surprising Allergy Triggers
The New York Times reports that study leader Dr. Gideon Lack suggested that witholding peanuts from babies might be partially responsible for the increase in allergies — in Western cultures, the prevalence of peanut allergy has doubled in the past 10 years, the journal reported. Older recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics suggested witholding peanuts until kids turn three; in 2008, the organization published an updated report questioning whether allergens like peanuts should be withheld past four to six months of age.
For the next phase of the study, the kids who were fed peanut products until they were five are being taken off peanuts for year, to give researchers insight into whether or not stopping consumption can spark an allergy. Hey, if more kiddos get to enjoy the glory that are Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups , we’re all for it.