The quality of our food determines how healthy we live. How dangerous the junk food can be is shown by the most recent researches presented by doctors at the annual meeting of the European Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN). Increasing consumption of fast food and junk food may be the reason for a dramatic increase in food allergies in our society. ESPGHAN researchers speak of an allergy epidemic.
More and more Europeans with food allergies
Doctors have already pointed to the steady rise in food allergies. Babies, in particular, are affected: in some countries, the frequency should be up to 10%. According to the German Association of Allergy and Asthma (DAAB), the number of patients with food allergy doubled during the period 2004-2014. According to an ESPGHAN press release, processed food consumption, which accounts for up to 50% of total daily energy consumption in European countries, has also increased dramatically.
Junk food as a trigger?
In one study, doctors and nutritionists have been able to link higher levels of so-called advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which are abundant in junk foods, to food allergies in children.
Study examined children between 6 and 12 years
Researchers from the University of Naples "Federico II" observed three groups of children aged 6 to 12 years: children with food allergies, children with respiratory allergies and healthy children without allergies. They found that there is a clear correlation between the subcutaneous level of AGEs and consumption of junk food. The study also found that children with food allergies had a higher proportion of AGEs than children with allergic or allergy-free allergies. The research team also found convincing evidence for the mechanism of action induced by AGEs in determining food allergy.
AGEs also responsible for diabetes, atherosclerosis and neurological disorders
AGEs are proteins or lipids that, once exposed to sugar, are glycosylated and present in high concentrations in junk food – they can be related to sugar, processed foods, microwaved foods, and grilled or roasted meat. It is known that AGEs play a role in the development of diabetes, atherosclerosis and neurological disorders, but it is the first time an association between AGEs and food allergies has been found.
Chief examiner Roberto Berni Canani: "Existing models of food allergies do not explain the dramatic increase observed in recent years – so dietary AGEs could be the missing link and we need more research to confirm this and strengthen the case for governments to improve public health measures to reduce the consumption of junk food in children. "
We call on health authorities to provide better care and prevention for people with food allergies.
Isabel Proaño, of the European Federation of Patients Associations with Allergies and Respiratory Tract Diseases, added: "Health professionals and patients do not have access to the knowledge they need to deal with a disease that dramatically affects their quality of life. gaps in labeling are not helping, and we urge health authorities to better prevent and care for people with food allergies. "