Scientists used data from a cross-sectional study to examine the link between margarine and butter consumption and IgE production in 2348 children. Prior studies had indicated a relationship between dietary fat and IgE, and the researchers sought to further characterize this association by fat type.
The use of margarine, as compared with butter, was associated with a 30% increase in the risk of allergic sensitization and a more than 40% increase in rhinitis symptoms. Further study revealed that this association was restricted to boys. Exclusive margarine consumption did not appear to increase the risks of physician-diagnosed asthma or hay fever in the population as a whole.
This study does not mean that margarine causes allergic reactions; it merely suggests that certain types of fat may increase the risk of allergy. More research is needed to explore this association.
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