Consuming nuts during pregnancy may reduce allergy risk in children

Researchers said it is okay for pregnant women to eat peanuts and other tree nuts. On NBC Nightly News, NBC’s Katy Tur said that “despite old recommendations,” the “new study,” published in “the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that eating peanuts and other tree nuts will not raise the baby’s allergy risk.”

The Wall Street Journal reports that for the study, investigators looked at data on more than 8,200 kids born from 1990 through 1994. On its website, CNN reports that this study “is the first to demonstrate that a mother who eats nuts frequently during pregnancy (five or more servings per week, according to the study) may help build up a baby’s tolerance to them after birth, its lead author, Dr. Michael Young, told CNN.”

In other words, as USA Today reports, “the more nuts women ate during their pregnancies, the less likely their child was to be allergic.” The study included nearly 11,000 mothers and children, who were followed from birth through adolescence.

Nevertheless, as Bloomberg News reports, the study also indicated that “women with allergies to nuts should avoid the food,” as mothers “with peanut and tree nut allergies who ate these foods five or more times a week had children with a higher allergy risk.”

According to Bloomberg News, “Previous guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2000 recommended avoiding these nuts during pregnancy yet the prevalence of allergies to these foods still tripled from 1997 to 2010, said Michael Young, a senior study author. Studies examining the link were inconsistent, causing the academy to rescind those recommendations in 2008. (These) findings are the first in humans to link increased exposure to peanuts and tree nuts in utero and reduced allergies in children, he said.”

The Huffington Post reports that although the investigators “allow that further studies are needed to replicate their findings, they argue that their data supports recent decisions to ‘rescind recommendations that all mothers avoid [peanut and tree nuts] during pregnancy and breastfeeding.’” The article points out that “the American Academy of Pediatrics previously recommended that women who were pregnant or breastfeeding avoid peanuts – a guideline that was nixed in 2008.”


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