Why Your Child May Need to Cut Back on Sugar if They Have Asthma

child with asthma eating chocolate at the dinner table

More than 21 million Americans have asthma (many of which are children). While there are countless reasons for the development of asthma in children, one that’s not as well known is sugar. 

According to scientific research, your child’s sugar intake could have a major impact on the development of asthma and the worsening of asthma-related symptoms. Based on laboratory studies, it’s known that a poor diet (specifically high sugar diets) may cause asthma and asthma symptoms in children. 

If you suspect your child has asthma or are searching for a more effective treatment plan, it’s in your best interest to consult with a pediatrician as soon as possible. Contact Newport Children’s Hospital to schedule a consultation today. 

Read on to learn more about the effects of sugar on your child’s asthma. 

How Does Sugar Affect Asthma?

It’s no secret that kids love sugar. They love it in their cereal, drinks, snacks, and just about everything else. With that in mind, that same sugary goodness that they can’t get enough of can be the cause of asthma and asthma-related symptoms, according to a study conducted on mice by the University of Pennsylvania. 

Children with a higher sugar intake are more likely to develop inflammation in their airways, making them exponentially more susceptible to asthma and asthma attacks. If you didn’t have a strong enough reason to reduce your child’s sugar intake before, this study might give you the motivation you need to develop healthier eating habits for your children. 

What Food Makes Asthma Worse?

Food allergies can trigger asthma-like symptoms in just about anyone, but the effects can be much more severe for children with asthma. In addition to sugar, a few types of foods known to increase the onset of asthma symptoms include:

  • Histamine – Can be found in yogurt, cheese, and certain meats. 
  • Sulfites – Preservatives (E2221 – E228) are usually in foods like dry fruits, processed foods, and pickled foods. 
  • Carbohydrates – Known to increase inflammation in the body. Common carbs to limit (or potentially avoid) include bread, cereal, french fries, etc. 
  • Artificial ingredients – chemically-based preservatives, flavorings, etc. 

Foods like eggs, fish, wheat, shellfish (i.e., shrimp, crab, crawfish, etc.), certain nuts, and cow’s milk have a higher likelihood of causing allergic reactions, including asthma symptoms. 

If you’re concerned that certain foods are causing your child’s asthma symptoms to worsen, it’s recommended that you consult with a pediatrician who specializes in food allergies, asthma, and asthma-related symptoms. 

What is the Best Diet For Asthma? 

Did you know that childhood obesity is a significant risk factor for developing asthma? Further, childhood obesity makes treating and controlling asthma symptoms more challenging. 

With that in mind, encouraging your child to eat a balanced and nutritious diet can reduce asthma flare-ups and attacks. A few foods you may consider adding to your child’s diet include:

  • Foods with high amounts of vitamin D
  • Vegetables rich in carotenes like carrots and leafy greens
  • Foods with a lot of magnesium like spinach and pumpkin seeds
  • Low-carb, high-fat diets 

Generally, it’s best to stick to anti-inflammatory foods as much as possible. While there are no diets specifically linked to asthma remission, many diets can promote healthy bodies and lung function. 

It’s important to note that it’s typically best to consult your child’s pediatrician before making significant dietary changes. 

Here’s What to do If Your Child Has Food Allergies and Asthma

Suppose your child has food allergies and asthma simultaneously. In that case, there are a few steps you can take to keep them as safe as possible. They include but are not limited to: 

  • Avoid food triggers (including sugar) 
  • Consult with your child’s pediatrician about getting an allergy shot 
  • Always keep at least two shots of epinephrine with you 
  • Keep your child’s emergency asthma medication nearby 

Contact Newport Children’s Medical Group Today 

Does your child have asthma? If so, the award-winning pediatricians at Newport Children’s Medical Group are here to help. Our pediatricians provide personalized treatment plans to cater to your child’s needs and manage their symptoms. 

In addition to prescribing asthma medication, our physicians will help you develop an asthma attack plan to prepare you and your family for every situation. Further, we will help you identify specific triggers (i.e., sugar, preservatives, sulfites, etc.) and brainstorm effective ways to limit your child’s exposure to them. 

Contact Newport Children’s Hospital today to schedule a consultation with a world-class pediatrician