Drinking soda while pregnant could increase your child's risk of asthma, study

The Daily Meal

We know moms aren't supposed to drink alcohol during pregnancy, but could soda be just as bad? Studies are pointing to new evidence that excessive consumption of sugary drinks during pregnancy could cause health problems for the child later in life.

New research published in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society suggests that children ages 7 to 9 are more likely to develop asthma if they consumed excessive amounts of sugary drinks in early childhood - or if their mother did the same during pregnancy.

"Previous studies have linked intake of high fructose corn syrup sweetened beverages with asthma in school children, but there is little information about when during early development exposure to fructose might influence later health," said lead study author Sheryl L. Rifas-Shiman, MPH. Scientists had yet to investigate the effects of exposure before birth.

During their third trimesters, 1,068 mothers completed questionnaires detailing their food and beverage consumption. The researchers looked closely at reports of drinking soda, fruit juice, and other sweetened drinks to determine their results. They analyzed this information in the context of overall fructose consumption - including sugar consumed from food - to determine whether sugary drinks had a significant effect.

Nineteen percent of children studied ended up with asthma. Mothers who consumed sugary drinks were 63 percent more likely to have a child with asthma, and mothers who consumed overall high levels of fructose were 61 percent more likely.

The researchers hypothesize that the correlation is due to fructose's potentially inflammatory effect on the lungs.

The study results note that since this is a purely observational study, it cannot prove that the sugary drinks caused the asthma - rather, only that there is a correlation.

Additionally, the correlation involved large amounts of fructose, rather than your occasional sugary drink. Your safest bet is still to avoid drinking soda daily, along with avoiding these other 8 foods and drinks while you're pregnant.

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