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High sugar intake in pregnancy may increase risk of allergy, asthma in baby

Researchers collected data from almost 9,000 mothers who were pregnant in the early 1990s

Press Trust of India  |  London 

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The study analysed associations between maternal intake of free sugars in pregnancy and allergy and asthma at seven years of age

High intake of sugar during may increase the risk of and in the baby, a study has found.

While some research has reported an association between a high consumption of sugar-containing beverages and in children, the relation between maternal during and and in the offspring has been little studied.


Researchers from University of Bristol and Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) in the UK collected data from almost 9,000 mothers who were pregnant in the early 1990s and their offspring.

The study, published in the European Respiratory Journal, analysed associations between maternal intake of free sugars in and and at seven years of age.

was defined as by positive skin tests to common allergens, namely dust mite, cat and grass.

While there was only weak evidence for a link between free in and overall, there were strong positive associations with and allergic together.

When comparing the 20 per cent of mothers with the highest versus the 20 per cent of mothers with the lowest sugar intake, there was an increased risk of 38 per cent for in the offspring (73 per cent for to two or more allergens) and 101 per cent for allergic

"We cannot say on the basis of these observations that a high intake of sugar by mothers in is definitely causing and allergic in their offspring," said Professor Seif Shaheen from QMUL.

However, given the extremely high consumption of sugar in the West, we will certainly be investigating this hypothesis further with some urgency.

The team speculate that the associations may be explained by a high maternal intake of fructose causing a persistent postnatal allergic immune response leading to allergic inflammation in the developing lung.

The researchers controlled for factors like maternal characteristics, social factors and other aspects of maternal diet, including foods and nutrients that have been previously linked to childhood and

The offspring's free in early childhood was found to have no association with the outcomes seen in the analysis.

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