Study: Consuming Low-Fat Yogurt During Pregnancy May Increase Allergy Risk in Children

Researchers recently linked low-fat yogurt consumption during pregnancy to a possible increase in childhood asthma and allergies. And while the verdict is still out as to whether or not there is a real risk, women who are pregnant or plan to get pregnant may want to take note of the potential risks.

A research team that was led by Ekaterina Maslova from the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health uncovered the potential risk while trying to determine if the conjugated fatty acids, or CLAs, found in dairy products could help prevent the development of allergies in children if consumed during the mother’s pregnancy.

Women who participated in the study were interviewed before and after pregnancy and they were asked to share their milk and yogurt intake during the gestational period. They were also asked to disclose the fat content of the milk or yogurt as well as whether or not the yogurt contained any fruit.

According to the results, of the children that were born to mothers who had consumed whole milk during pregnancy, 5.9% of 7 year-olds had a lifetime asthma diagnosis and 4.2% reported current asthma conditions. This was, apparently, a figure that pointed at some form of asthma protection.

Children born to mothers that had consumed low fat yogurt with fruit, however, were 1.6 times more likely to develop asthma by the age of 7. According to the researchers, however, this could be “due to a number of reasons” and more studies will be needed to make a more definitive conclusion, including the reason that one dairy product would offer protection while the other creates a risk. The only current speculation is that the difference has something to do with the fat content of the milk product.

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About the author


Kate Givans is a wife and a mother of five—four sons (one with autism) and a daughter. She’s an advocate for breastfeeding, women’s rights, against domestic violence, and equality for all. When not writing—be it creating her next romance novel or here on Growing Your Baby—Kate can be found discussing humanitarian issues, animal rights, eco-awareness, food, parenting, and her favorite books and shows on Twitter or Facebook. Laundry is the bane of her existence, but armed with a cup of coffee, she sometimes she gets it done.

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