junk food

[Representational image] | Picture credit: Creative Commons

A new study has shown that children who consume more junk food, especially the processed kind, could be at a higher risk for more food allergies.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Naples. The study’s results are being debated because it was conducted on 23 children with allergies and 22 without it.

What seems to be the point of contention is the elevated levels of advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) present in children who consumed more junk food.

What are AGEs?

AGEs are a class of compounds formed when protein or fat combine with sugar in the bloodstream — human or otherwise.

Thus, AGEs are not only found naturally in our body but also found in heavily processed food, especially processed meat. They are also found in cooked meat.

The level of AGEs in the body can rise if one consumes food that is rich in AGEs.

High AGE-presence in the body has so far been linked to a gamut of problems, including diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and even skin-ageing!

Now, a new study says there could be a possible link between high levels of AGEs and more food allergies in children as well.

[Representational image] | Picture credit: Creative Commons

Junk food to blame?

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Naples and presented recently at the annual European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition meeting in Glasgow, Scotland.

Roberto Berni Canani, who led the study, was quoted by the Guardian as saying about the children studied as part of the research: “They are consuming a lot of snacks, a lot of hamburgers, a lot of French fries, a lot of commercial foods full of AGEs.”

His remarks assume importance in light of the study finding elevated levels of AGEs in children who have food allergies.

Canini also said the children with food allergies consumed 20-40 percent more junk food that contained AGEs.

However, Canini also cautioned that many other factors could be attributed to the global rise of food allergies in children. This could even include problems with the kids’ gut bacteria.

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