Diets rich in sugar, fast food bad for lung health

17 Mar 2022
Diets rich in sugar, fast food bad for lung health

Keeping a diet high in sweets and fast food seems to worsen the risk of asthma, reports a recent Qatar study.

Researchers conducted a cross-sectional analysis of 986 eligible adults (mean age 39.5 years, 498 men) who reported their dietary intakes using food frequency questionnaires (FFQ). Of the participants, 65 had been diagnosed with asthma, yielding a prevalence rate of 6.6 percent.

Analysis of FFQ results showed that there were three dominant dietary patterns: traditional, which was high in rice, chicken/meat/fish, bread, soups, pasta, cooked vegetables, and other similar foods; prudent, which was rich in fresh fruit, salads, cooked vegetables, and grilled meats; and fast food/sweets, characterized mainly by ice cream, desserts, take-out, chocolate, and soft drinks.

The unhealthy fast food/sweets dietary pattern was associated with an increased odds of asthma (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 1.26, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.02–1.55; p=0.03).

Even when taken as a continuous variable, adherence to the fast food/sweets diet remained associated with asthma, such that those who were in the highest vs lowest tertile of this diet were more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with asthma (adjusted OR, 2.04, 95 percent CI, 1.001–4.16; p=0.046).

Meanwhile, the traditional and prudent dietary patterns showed no statistical link to asthma when taken either as binary or continuous variables.

“Promoting food habits leading to the reduced consumption of foods high in sugar and fast foods may be beneficial in improving the lung health of Qatar population,” the researchers said. “Long-term studies are needed on the effects of fast food and sweet intake in the aetiology and pathogenesis of asthma.”

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