SAN ANTONIO – A new study shows people who get most of their food from a window are more likely to have allergies or asthma.
The international study was released at a time when allergy season is making many of us in south Texas feel like a sniffly, sneezy mess.
In a world of drive-thrus, dollar menus and diners, there’s also a dollop of advice: you are what you eat.
"I'm a simple man with simple pleasures,” Travis Amaro says as he orders from Cheesy Jane’s diner. “Fast food is one of those pleasures.”
So it’s hard to stomach when doctors warn that when we order a burger and fries, we might unexpectedly get a side of allergies.
"My kids have allergies but they don't eat fast food,” diner patron Terry Palmer says.
But even the doctors who studied 400,000 kids around the world aren’t sure of the connection.
Those doctors discovered the kids who ate more fast food were more likely to have allergies and asthma, but said more research is needed to find out why.
That’s certainly food for thought, allergist Dr. Paul Ratner says.
"In all honesty, in the 28 years that I've been practicing, I've never actually made that connection,” Dr. Ratner says.
And how do you define fast food – does it come in a bag, or on a plate?
"Fast food is something you can get pretty quick,” Cheesy Jane’s manager Dana Freehauf says.
Either way, she says she does not have allergies.
"I do kind of find it funny,” Freehauf says. “I've been in this business so long. Allergies from fast food? It's just kind of different for me."
Still, Dr. Ratner says the study isn’t something to sneeze at yet.
"The message, I think, is a good one,” he says. “It certainly won't hurt anyone to eat less fast food and to eat more fruits and vegetables."
An abstract of the study
is available from Thorax
, an international journal of respiratory medicine.NBC's TODAY show
also has more information on the study's findings.