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Worried About Asthma? Better Avoid These Foods


A review of 16 studies found eating fast food is linked to an increased risk of asthma, eczema, pollen fever and other allergic diseases. Of the foods tested, hamburgers posed the greatest risk. The authors believe that poor quality diet likely plays a role in the higher prevalence of allergic diseases in recent decades.

Fast food contains an abundance of calories, saturated fat, refined carbohydrates, sugar, salt and preservatives. Because it’s low in nutrients and high in unhealthful ingredients, the research community has hypothesized that its consumption may contribute to the development and worsening of asthma and other allergic diseases. However, studies that have tested this hypothesis have obtained mixed results.

In view of the lack of clarity, the aim of the current study was to determine if the link between fast food and asthma, indeed, exists. An additional objective was to compare the effects of more frequent consumption with less frequent consumption.

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To conduct the investigation, the researchers examined databases of studies pertaining to fast food and asthma, as well as reviewed unpublished studies that explored the topic. The results showed eating fast food was significantly tied to current asthma, severe asthma and a history of asthma, along with pollen fever and severe eczema. Comparisons of different types of fast food revealed that eating a hamburger at least three times per week was more likely to be connected to severe asthma and eczema compared to eating it one to two times per week.

Why Might Fast Food Increase the Risk?

After analyzing the results, the authors speculated on the reasons that underlie fast food’s link to allergic diseases. The dietary elements involved have an obesity-promoting effect that may be partly responsible. In addition, nutritional deficiencies can develop from regular consumption of fast food, which may play a role in raising the risk.

Inflammation may be another contributing factor. Saturated fat from fast food causes the body to release inflammatory substances that lead to chronic inflammation of the airways. Moreover, eating fast food reduces the consumption of fruits and vegetables, which contain nutrients with anti-inflammatory properties.

“In conclusion, our study, for the first time, has systematically assessed the relationship between the consumption of fast foods and asthma/wheeze and other allergic diseases,” the authors wrote. “It has demonstrated that the consumption of fast foods, in particular hamburgers, correlates to asthma in a dose–response manner. Relationships between the consumption of fast foods and asthma/wheeze exist in high‐ or middle‐income populations.”

Further studies are needed to confirm the findings and identify factors associated with fast food that might account for the increasing prevalence of allergic diseases, the authors added. The study was published in the journal Respirology.


Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.

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