Doctors in the United Kingdom are blaming the rise of fast food in the country for the rising number of food allergies also appearing in the country.

Doctor Pam Ewan of Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge says that food allergies have been increasing over the past thirty years in the UK and alongside those increases are an increase in the amount of preservatives, artificial sweeteners, and other additives being consumed by children and adults in the country. The parallel, she says, seems clearly worthy of investigation.

“We know that allergies are more common where there is westernised lifestyle so it must be due to factors in that environment,” Dr. Ewan said in a Daily Mail interview. “There’s been a massive change in our diets, no-one ate fast food 30 years ago, no-one had all these preserves, pre-prepared meals, additives.”

This flies in the face of another popular theory, the “too-clean theory” that espouses that our higher rate of hygiene has meant that our immune systems do not have as much to do and become hypersensitive.

So far, evidence for both theories is circumstantial and there is little scientific backing for them. As of yet, medical science has no clear explanation for why allergies are becoming more common in Western populations.

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