The short answer is we don’t know, but get your kids away from fast food.
Apart from the risk of obesity, a recent study of more than 500,000 children in over 50 countries showed a linkage between fast food and chronic illnesses, namely severe asthma, hay fever and eczema. For kids who eat fast food 3 times or more a week, there’s a 30 percent increased risk in severity of the above conditions. There’s no causal relationship, but signal a link between fast food and eczema. This study was widely reported because it covered a large number of participants and across countries, however, there are limitations which NHS (UK) pointed out. Professor Hywel Williams, one of the co-authors of the study, mentioned in an NIH interview that three or more weekly servings of fruit reduced the severity of symptoms in 11 percent among teens and 14 percent among children. Fast foods is defined as burgers, while eczema is an itchy rash in the past 12 months with symptoms defined as severe if sleep disturbance was reported at least once per week.
I also come across other interesting reports relating to trans fat (abundant in fast food) and coke, and eczema.
Dr David L Katz replied to a Q&A on Oprah.com to reduce intake of saturated or trans fat, as well as foods related to inflammation. He also suggested increasing omega-3s that can help increase anti-inflammatory hormones in the body. He pointed out flaxseed oil, which I’ve been giving my toddler Marcie. Also, margarine contains trans fat, and Lahey Hospital had a good write-up on how you can reduce your trans fat intake here. For those of us who are celebrating Chinese New Year, you’d be aware (and beware) as many of these commercial cookies have been prepared with partially hydrogenated vegetable oil and one piece of bak-kwa is 300 calories!
Dr Jeff Benabio in his video “Can Drinking Diet Soda Cause a Drink?” said that people severely allergic to formaldehyde can also be allergic to diet soda, as diet soda contained aspartame which after ingestion, created formaldehyde. Specifically, aspartame is hydrolysed to methanol, which is metabolized to formaldehyde then to formate.
For readers of this blog, you’d know I’ve been blogging about eating anti-inflammation food and staying away from inflammatory sugar and trans fat, in the link below:
Interview series with nutritionist Julie Daniluk on various anti-inflammatory foods, such as shiitake mushroom.
Interview series with Dr Sears L.E.A.N. on boosting immune system of children, via consuming more fruits and vegetables.
So, in conclusion, there’s no doubt that fast food, which are high in trans fat and mostly fried, are to be avoided. I’ve been cooking healthy food for my family daily, and you’d be amazed at how fast you can whip out a meal once you’re used to it, faster than fast food!