Western diets could be responsible for the high levels of allergies experienced by people in the UK.
Recent research from Mintel revealed that around 44 per cent of British adults suffer from at least one allergy.
Proceedings from the National Academy of Sciences have suggested that this could be because the guts of western children harbour different bacteria due to the low-fibre, high-sugar diet that has become commonplace.
Children in a rural village in Burkina Faso were found to have very different gut bacteria and a greater abundance of fatty acids, which are known to protect against inflammation.
Lindsey McManus, head of information and training at Allergy UK, commented: "Eczema and hay fever are – I wouldn't say a western phenomenon, but [they do occur less] in developing countries.
"In places like [the subject of this study in rural] Africa, where the body's immune system is still fighting off the enemy it was intended to, [such as] parasitic infections, you don't see allergies anywhere near as much."