Fast-Food Hamburgers Linked to Increased Asthma and Allergy Risk, Study Finds

big mac

A new study published in the science journal Respirology uncovered a link between fast-food hamburgers and an increased risk of developing asthma and allergies. The research is the first systematic review and meta-analysis investigating the relationship between fast-food consumption, asthma, and other allergic diseases.

For the study, “Is the Consumption of Fast Foods Associated With Asthma or Other Allergic Diseases?,” key author Cheng S. Wang and a team of researchers analyzed 16 case studies that investigated links between fast-food consumption and allergic diseases. Fast-food was defined as: “mass-produced foods prepared and served very quickly, with poor nutritional quality.”

It found that the consumption of fast-food hamburgers “correlates to asthma in a dose-response pattern.” Severe asthma, current wheeze, wheeze ever, and physician-diagnosed allergic rhinitis were all linked to fast-food intake.

Further, the study noted, “The prevalence of asthma and atopic diseases such as eczema (atopic dermatitis), allergic rhinitis (pollen fever) and rhino-conjunctivitis has drastically increased over recent decades. These diseases have unclear aetiology and place a significant burden on the healthcare system, as well as reducing the quality of life of patients.” Simultaneously, “With adoption of westernized lifestyles, consumption of ‘fast foods’ has increased.”

It seemed apparent that the two factors are connected, which Wang noted is “biologically plausible … which could in some degree explain the increasing prevalence of these diseases and offer a potential intervention strategy.”

The study also touched on how fast-food fuels the growing obesity epidemic. A study published late last year said obesity and diabetes are responsible for 800,000 cases of cancer per year; a different study hailed plant-based diets as a viable solution to combat obesity. Vegan diets have also been connected to preventing and treating cancer effectively, in addition to preventing at least one-third of premature deaths.

For those who don’t want to give up fast-food hamburgers but are concerned about health, veganized versions of junk food are becoming increasingly popular. Plant-based duo BOSH! have even created a vegan version of the infamous Big Mac, offering a guilt-free way to enjoy the flavors consumers have come to crave.

Image Credit: BOSH!