A new research has surmised that women who eat a lot of sugar during their pregnancy are likely to have a child with asthma or other allergies. The study, undertaken by researchers from the London-based Queen Mary University, analyzed over nine thousand women who gave girth during the 1990s and their children.
The study compared the mothers who consumed the most amount of free sugars in a day (16 to 69 teaspoons) to the ones who consumed the least (less than 7 teaspoons) on a daily basis. It was found that the children born to the women in the high-sugar group were 101% more likely to generate allergic asthma and 73% more likely to be allergic to two or more allergens.
Free sugars include sugars that are added and are naturally present in a variety of food products such as syrups, fruit juices, and honey. Food having the most proportion of free sugars include cookies, jams, cakes, soda, and fruit juices. Also, sugars found naturally in vegetables and fruits are not free sugars.
Published in the European Respiratory Journal, the study is more observational than deductive. However, researchers speculate that a diet containing high levels of sugar during pregnancies triggers a continuous postnatal allergic immune response, leading to the development of allergic inflammation in the developing lung of the baby.
Study’s lead researcher, professor Seif Shaheen, said in a press release that although it cannot be said based on the observations that the high intake of sugars by pregnant women is a definitive cause of allergies and allergic asthma in their children. However, as the sugar consumption trend in the West runs on the high side, this hypothesis needs to be further investigated with some urgency.