Development of respiratory issues in children is a growing concern for parents these days. Fear of future risk of asthma is also a cause of constant worry. While we blame polluted air for these problems, a new study cites meat as one of the culprits. Surprised? Well, it is quite strange. The study published online in the journal Thorax suggests that some inflammatory substances present in cooked meats could lead to increased wheezing in children. The researchers pointed out that dietary habits established earlier in life may be associated with wheezing and potentially the future development of asthma.
The study discovered the pro-inflammatory compounds called advanced glycation end-products (AGEs), which are by-products of high-temperature cooking, such as grilling, frying, or roasting of meat. AGEs lock on to particular 'danger signal' cells in the lungs, giving rise to inflammatory immune system response.
"As several cohort studies have suggested an adverse effect of meat consumption on paediatric airways health, confirmation of a positive correlation between AGE intake and non-seafood meat consumption in our cohort strengthens our a priori hypothesis that dietary AGEs may have an important role in airway inflammation in children," the study read.
The researchers at University of Queen Mary, London, assessed the potential impact of dietary AGE intake and meat consumption on respiratory symptoms. They took the help of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) for the years 2003 to 2006. The team studied dietary patterns of 4388 children aged 2-17 years through a 139-item Food Frequency Questionnaire.
It was seen that higher intake of all types of meats was associated with more instances of wheezing in the children.
Professor Jonathan Grigg, Centre for Child Health, University of Queen Mary, London, "Although we are far from having enough evidence to recommend changes in meat consumption in children in order to reduce asthma, a focus on adverse respiratory effects of consuming large amounts of cooked meats resonates with wider agendas."