Is Junk Food the Cause of Food Allergies?
Every parent wants to know what is the cause of food allergies in order to prevent allergies. It’s believe that food allergies are caused by both genetic and environmental influences. Recently, experts say that there is a rise of food allergies in western countries. A new study suggests that there is a product plays a factor in the increase — and severity of — food allergies.
The study focused on if advanced glycation end products in junk food could have a correlation with food allergies. Advanced glycation end products, or AGEs, are proteins that change due to exposure to sugars. AGEs are in junk food in high levels.
Three groups of 6-12 year old children participated in the study held by the University of Naples ‘Fedrico II’. The children were placed into groups according to their food allergies, respiratory allergies, and healthy controls. Children with food allergies had higher levels of AGEs than the other two groups. Along with the higher AGEs levels, children with food allergies on averge consumed 20-40% more junk food than the allergy-free group.
The main investigator, Roberto Berni Canani, said in regards to the research:
"As of yet, existing hypotheses and models of food allergy do not adequately explain the dramatic increase observed in the last years—so dietary AGEs may be the missing link. Our study certainly supports this hypothesis, we now need further research to confirm it. If this link is confirmed, it will strengthen the case for national governments to enhance public health interventions to restrict junk food consumption in children."
While the information gained from the study is interesting, it isn’t definite proof. It is just a correlation. The study was small with just 23 children with food allergies. John Warner, a professor of pediatrics at Imperial College London, believes that the study was too small and did not take in account other factors that could be the cause for the correlation.
There needs to be more studies on if AGEs are behind the rise of food allergies recently. But what should you do with information from this study? Paying attention to what your child eats in regards to their food allergies is a daily activity. Be mindful of any junk food your child may be eating. Besides for the information from this study, junk food is tied to obesity, diabetes, depression, nutrient deficiencies, and sodium and heart disease.
What do you think of this study? Are you curious to see more studies like this to find what the cause of food allergies is? Comment below and share your thoughts with us!