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Eating Fast Food Can Cause Asthma and Other Allergies

Eating Fast Food Can Cause Asthma and Other Allergies

Your diet could be the reason you are having trouble breathing.

One of Americans’ favorite fast food options is Chinese takeout. And that’s good because, with some attention, you can eliminate sugar-added, deep-fried options. It’s a lot easier to order nutritious dishes from Chinese restaurants than from McWhopper drive-thrus. So isn’t it ironic that these days in China it’s hard to avoid the destructive power of hamburger-driven fast food joints?

A study funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Science and Technology Foundation of Chengdu Science and the Technology Foundation of Sichuan Province found that American-style fast food—which is ever-more common in China—is linked to asthma and other allergic diseases, including allergic rhinitis, severe eczema and severe rhino-conjunctivitis (nasal congestion, runny nose, post-nasal drip, sneezing and red eyes).

You might think that China’s air pollution is the real culprit when it comes to the 40 percent increase in that country’s asthma cases between 2007 and 2013. However, this new fast food mega-study (13 cross-sectional and 3 case-control studies) reveals that what you put inside your body can be just as damaging to your respiratory health as the air you breathe.

The researchers identify the causes of inflammation leading to respiratory and allergic distress as the fast foods’ calorie-dense, refined carbohydrates, sodium, sugar, cholesterol, additives such as preservatives and colorants, and high concentrations of saturated fat. Maybe both countries should ban trade in those fast foods—and promote mutual enjoyment of bok choy, sauteed green beans and fish with black bean sauce. Then everyone will pay a lower health tariff.

Medically reviewed in November 2019.

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