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Mom’s Sweet Tooth Puts Babies at Risk of Asthma

Mom’s Sweet Tooth Puts Babies at Risk of Asthma

“What took you so long?” a pregnant Lucy asks Ricky on an episode of I Love Lucy. “There’s only one store in New York City that makes a papaya juice milkshake,” Ricky says, exasperated. “Did you get the dill pickle?” she asks. He hands it to her. “Lucy are you sure you want to...” She dunks the pickle in the milkshake, delighted by the combo.

Many pregnant women experience odd cravings, but those 40 weeks aren’t a time for eating whatever you want. A study reveals the hazards of indulging your sweet tooth are not limited to excess weight gain or elevated blood sugar levels. Sweets are linked to increased allergies and higher rates of allergic asthma for kids ages 7 to 9.

Researchers found children whose mothers consumed 16 to 69 teaspoons of sugar a day were over two times more likely to develop allergic asthma (triggered by an allergic reaction to pollen, mold and other air-borne irritants) than a child whose mom had limited sugar intake. Twelve ounces of cola has almost 10 teaspoons of sugar; one glazed doughnut, 3 teaspoons; caramel macchiato, 8 teaspoons.

The researchers speculate dietary sugar—especially high fructose corn syrup, which has only been in our food supply since the 1960s—increases levels of inflammatory C-reactive protein and/or alters the gut biome in pregnant women, causing the pass-along effect. So, during pregnancy, ditch added sugars and syrups. Your sweet child will have a much sweeter childhood if you skip the sweets.

Medically reviewed in March 2020.

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