Scientists have warned that consuming too much sugar during pregnancy could up the risk of their kid’s tendency to develop asthma by as much as 50 per cent.

The warning has been issued based on a study involving almost 9,000 mother and child pairs, used data from a world-leading birth cohort study, the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), also known as ‘Children of the 90s’. The research analysed associations between maternal intake of free sugars in pregnancy and allergy and asthma at seven years of age.

They found that the children of those in the top category had a roughly a one in five chance of developing asthma, while those in the lowest category had a one in ten.  It is thought the sugar link with asthma may be explained by high intakes of fructose triggering an immune response leading to inflammation in developing lungs.

Lead researcher Professor Seif Shaheen  said: “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.

The study is published in the European Respiratory Journal.

How to beat asthma

While there’s no cure for asthma, the good news is that it can be managed, and the problems associated with it are usually directly linked to that management. Asthma also responds to environmental factors that can be identified and mitigated. There are so many ways that life for asthma patients can be improved without ever needing to visit a doctor’s office that it seems impossible to believe that its devastating effects on human life and its swelling costs can’t be beaten. And some of the most effective therapies don’t necessarily involve medicine at all, but changing the environments in which asthmatics live. For public-health officials, changing the very air people breathe might be the way forward.

For asthmatics, some of the best respites from the constant fear of attacks might come from finding higher ground, clean air, and perhaps the shade of a grove of non-allergenic alpine trees. There’s a beauty in the thin, crisp, clean air at the top of the world, especially when that air’s always a potential menace, waiting to trigger an attack.


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