A Moment of Science

I Have Asthma. Should I Avoid Fast Food?

Your doctor may have told you to avoid certain things if you have asthma. Is fast food something to avoid?

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Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/avlxyz/3928073035/

The burger and fries looks good. However, should people with asthma avoid fast food because of high fat content?

Is it true that people with asthma should stay away from fast food like burgers and fries?

What to avoid?

Good question. And the answer is…maybe. One study found that asthma patients who ate foods high in fat had more trouble breathing than patients who ate a low fat meal.

High fat foods are bad news

To be clear, the study doesn’t prove that burgers and fries, specifically, cause or worsen asthma. But it does suggest that high fat foods, like a lot of junk food, may be bad for asthma.

Other studies have found that foods high in fat and salt trigger the immune system, which can lead to swelling in the body, including the airway. And when your airway is swollen, it’s harder to breath.

Asthma facts

Also consider that asthma has gotten a lot worse over the past few decades. From 1980 through 1994, asthma rates in developed countries rose by more than sixty percent.

Link to obesity?

There are probably many causes for the increase, but it may not be a coincidence that obesity rates skyrocketed at the same time. Obesity has been linked to the growing availability of high calorie, high fat foods–the same types of food that may also contribute to asthma.

In any case, it’s well known that high fat and high salt junk food is bad for your waistline and for health generally. The idea that fatty foods may harm breathing, too, is one more reason to cut back.

  • patrick1988

    “And when your airway is swollen, it’s harder to breath.” It should be “breathe”.

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