Researchers at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom have published a study in European Respiratory Journal that analyzed sugar intake during pregnancy and the relationship to allergies and asthma in children. Data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) were used in the study.

Participants in the study included mothers who were pregnant in the early 1990s and their children. The study’s findings showed that the 20% of mothers with the highest sugar intake had a 38% increased risk of their children developing allergies than the 20% of those with the lowest sugar intake. There was also a 101% increased risk of allergic asthma in the children of women who consumed large amounts of sugar.

The team of researchers said that the association between sugar and allergies and allergic asthma is allergic inflammation in the developing lungs due to a high intake of fructose by the mother.

Professor Seif Shaheen, a lead researcher in the study and a faculty member at Queen Mary University of London, 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. However, given the extremely high consumption of sugar in the West, we will certainly be investigating this hypothesis further with some urgency.”

Shaheen said he recommends that pregnant women decrease their sugar intake as more research is conducted in this area.

  1. Queen Mary University of London. Sugar intake during pregnancy is associated with allergy and allergic asthma in children. Published July 6, 2017. Accessed July 7, 2017.