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This Pregnancy Craving Could Cause Allergies In Kids

by Annamarya Scaccia

As a kid, I loved to eat Swiss rolls. I would go through boxes of those sweet chocolate-and-cream snacks. For a long time, though, I didn't touch those devilish treats because of dietary changes I made. Then I became pregnant and I wanted Swiss rolls all the time. (All. The. Time.) My fiancé made many late bodega runs. But I may have to repent for that sweet tooth later on; new research claims that all those sweets during pregnancy may be what causes kid's allergies.

According to CNN, a study published Wednesday in the European Respiratory Journal found a link between high-sugar food intake during pregnancy and an increased risk of allergies and allergic asthma among children. Researchers from Queen Mary University of London analyzed health data from nearly 9,000 mother-child participants in Britain's Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents, focusing on current doctor-diagnosed asthma, wheezing, hay fever, eczema, hypoallergenic tendencies, immunoglobulin E antibodies, and lung function in kids 7 to 9 years old.

What they found is that kids born to parents with the highest sugar consumption during pregnancy were 73 percent more likely to have two or more allergies by 7 years old, according the Sioux City Journal. About 38 percent of those children were more likely to have at least one allergy.

The researchers also discovered that children born to mothers with a heavy sweet tooth were twice as likely to have allergic asthma. According to American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology, allergic asthma is, in part, a hereditary condition that causes coughing and wheezing triggered by common allergens such as dust mites.

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America states that allergies affect as many as 40 percent of children in the United States, with asthma and other allergic diseases being the third most common chronic issue in children and teens.

Researchers behind the European Respiratory Journal paper do recognize the limitations of their findings, and concede that they need to be confirmed in follow-up studies. Lead researcher Seif Shaheen, who teaches at Queen Mary University of London, told the Sioux City Journal that,

We cannot say on the basis of these observations that a high intake of sugar by mothers in pregnancy is definitely causing allergy and allergic asthma in their offspring. ... However, given the extremely high consumption of sugar in the West, we will certainly be investigating this hypothesis further with some urgency.

To be honest, I am not worried about the results of this study, though they are interesting to say the least. I know I ate a lot of sweets during my pregnancy. But I also know that allergies and asthma run in the family. I suffer from asthma and certain food allergies myself, and that's most likely why my son has asthma as well — not because I craved Swiss rolls at 4 a.m.