Scientists have warned expectant mothers that the consumption of excess sugar during pregnancy may make their unborn offspring susceptible to childhood asthma and allergies.
The study, published in the European Respiratory Journal, analysed data from 8,956 children aged 7 to 9, with all the mothers giving details of their diet during pregnancy, TheCable.ng reports.
The mothers with the highest sugar intake were compared with those who consumed the least.
The result showed the former had a 37% higher risk of allergies in the offspring.
Although no links were found between high sugar levels and asthma, mothers who had a high level of sugar intake were found to have more than double the risk of having a child with allergic asthma.
The researchers added that the link with asthma and allergies could not be explained by how much sugar the young children had.
According to the researchers, preliminary results suggest that the presence of “free sugars” in many processed foods and fizzy drinks may trigger an inflammatory response in a child’s developing lungs.
“Perhaps the mothers who ate more sugar had diets that were different in other ways from the mothers who ate less sugar, or perhaps they had different smoking habits, for instance,” Kevin McConway, emeritus professor of applied statistics, at The Open University, said in a statement.
“Perhaps it was these other aspects of diet, or smoking, that caused their children’s allergies and asthma, and not the sugar.”