I am trying to narrow down the source of a food allergy. I had a really bad reaction recently and that was my second bad reaction in 2 years. In the first instance, it was after drinking a fruit smoothie at Smoothie King with "all natural" ingredients, I may or may not have had one with the turbinado in it. The second time was this past week at a steakhouse where I tried the Bernaise sauce. I'm assuming that they made it in house but it may have very well been from a vendor.

So, can someone please help me figure out what ingredients those two foods would have in common? Someone suggested that maybe cornstarch was in both of those? Are there any other common ingredients?

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    If you feel comfortable sharing, could you narrow down the definition of "really bad reaction"? What were the symptoms? For a while I thought i was allergic to pineapple, however it turned out it had urticaria which was totally unrelated to food. In any case: your best bet is to see a doctor.
    – Gretel_f
    Jul 19, 2019 at 5:44
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    Ask your doctor about food allergies. There are standardized allergy tests to narrow the culprits
    – roetnig
    Jul 19, 2019 at 8:58
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    There are no natural ingredients in common with those things, so I'd suspect something like a stabilzer/thickener, maybe Xanthan gum or Carageenan? Jul 19, 2019 at 22:47
  • Did you have a protein smoothie with egg in it? And is your allergic reaction stomach cramps? If so, the common factor could be eggs.
    – Wayne
    Aug 31, 2019 at 17:54

2 Answers 2


Bernaise = butter, egg, vinegar (usually white wine), salt, pepper, and herbs. It would surprise me if any of those things were in your smoothie. So, based on the information you provided, I would say they have nothing in common. Beyond that, you would have to go the the Smoothie King, and the steak house, and ask for a list of ingredients to see if there is something out of the ordinary in their recipes. Maybe you should just go see your physician.

  • That is all true if you assume that both places use natural ingredients. But there could still be something, like an additive or preservative, that is used across both of those. Jul 19, 2019 at 2:14
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    And without knowing the specific smoothie and the exact steakhouse sauce how could we be able to help you in this case? We, as people on the internet, can only assume, that the main ingredients of both foods you mentioned, are the problem.
    – Gretel_f
    Jul 19, 2019 at 7:41

Of course this has to be a guess, but one possibility is xanthan gun or guar gum. These are common stabilisers and emulsifiers in commerical food products. I should stress that there is no evidence they are harmful or likely to cause allergic reactions in general.

This post on chowhound suggests using xanthan gum to stabilise a large batch of bernaise sauce. Searching for ingredients in commercial chocolate ice creams (particularly cheaper brands) found many using guar gum as a stabiliser.

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    It's a good guess, but xanthan and guar gums are hugely common in processed foods. It would be impossible for the OP to only have encountered them in those two circumstances.
    – Sneftel
    Mar 12, 2021 at 10:35

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