Mom's diet linked to allergy risk in
NEW YORK, Oct 06 (Reuters Health) - If you
are a breast-feeding mother and love juicy burgers, buttery
snacks and other high-fat treats, you may want to consider a
dietary switch. A new study suggests that such a diet may
increase your child's risk of allergies.
According to the report, breast-feeding
infants whose mothers consumed high levels of total and
saturated fat were 16% more likely to develop allergies than
breast-feeding infants whose moms ate a carbohydrate-rich diet.
A family history of allergies greatly
increases a child's risk of developing allergies. "Dietary
factors may also have a remarkable impact" on a child's
allergy risk, Dr. U. Hoppu and colleagues from the University of
Turku, Finland, report in the September issue of the European
Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The authors explain that there has been a
marked increase in allergies among people living in
industrialized nations, possibly due to dietary changes such as
greater fat intake. While studies have shown that breast-fed
infants are less likely to develop allergies, it is not known
whether a breast-feeding mother's fat intake would change this
To investigate, the researchers looked at 114
breast-feeding babies with a family history of allergies.
Mothers kept a food record for 4 days when the infants were
nearly 3 months old.
Nearly one quarter (23.7%) of infants became
sensitized to common allergens by age one, most commonly to
eggs, milk, wheat and cats. People who are sensitized to a
substance have a skin reaction to it, but do not necessarily
have obvious signs of an allergic reaction if, for example, they
eat eggs or pet a cat. This seemed to be true regardless of the
The authors recommend that breast-feeding
mothers with a history of allergies be counseled to moderate
their dietary fat intake, since a high intake of saturated fat
is associated with a poor overall diet.
"The importance of a balanced and varied
maternal diet for the subsequent health and nutritional status
of both mother and child should be emphasized," Hoppu and
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