How much sugar a woman eats while she’s pregnant may cause her future children a great risk of developing allergies and allergic asthma scientists said.
Allergies, also known as allergic diseases, are a number of conditions caused by hypersensitivity of the immune system to something in the environment that usually causes little or no problem in most people. These diseases include hay fever, food allergies, atopic dermatitis, allergic asthma, and anaphylaxis.
Recent studies revealed that Allergic asthma is the most common type of asthma. About 90 percent of kids with childhood asthma have allergies, compared with about 50 percent of adults with asthma. The new study analysed data from nearly 9,000 women who were pregnant in the early 1990s, and from their children, who were tested for asthma and common allergies (like dust mites, cats and grass) at age seven.
While pregnant, the women were asked about their weekly consumption of certain food groups and specific food items, including sugar, coffee and tea; their responses were used to calculate their intake of added sugar, not including natural sugars in fruits, vegetables or dairy products.
The researchers only saw weak evidence to suggest a link between women’s added sugar intake and their children’s chances of developing asthma overall. But when they looked specifically at allergic asthma—in which an asthma diagnosis is accompanied by a positive skin test for allergens—the link was much stronger.
Children whose moms were in the top fifth for added sugar during pregnancy were twice as likely to have allergic asthma when compared to children whose moms were in the bottom fifth. The ‘mailonline’ reports that kids of moms with high-sugar diets were also 38 percent more likely to test positive for an allergen— and 73 percent more likely to test positive for two or more—than those whose moms stayed away from added sugar.
The researchers controlled for several factors that could have also influenced the findings, including social factors and other aspects of the mothers’ diets. Not all allergic conditions were linked to maternal sugar consumption, however. No association was found for eczema or hay fever. And contrary to previous studies, no association was found between the children’s own sugar intake (at age 4) and any of their health outcomes at age seven. The study was not able to show a cause-and- effect relationship. But the authors speculate that high-sugar intake during pregnancy may increase inflammation in developing lung tissue, leaving children predisposed to allergies.