Moms-to-be, beware! The next time you gorge on junk food, think twice, for a new study has revealed that eating a fatty diet during pregnancy could cause long-lasting health damage to your child.
According to researchers in Britain, tucking in junk food like chocolates, wafers and biscuits can have a negative impact on the unborn toddlers — the effects include obesity, diabetes and raised levels of cholesterol.
“It seems that a mother’s diet while pregnant and breastfeeding is very important for the long-term health of her child.
“We always say, ‘You are what you eat’. In fact, it may also be true that, ‘You are what your mother ate’,” lead researcher Dr Stephanie Bayol was quoted by the British media as saying.
The researchers at the Royal Veterinary College in London came to the conclusion after looking at the effects of maternal diet on almost 150 baby rodents. Half of the mother animals were given normal rat food, while the others also had access to junk food, including muffins and chocolate.
Tests showed the junk food pups suffered a host of health problems that lasted into adulthood — they had high levels of cholesterol and other fats linked to heart disease.
Blood sugar levels and insulin were also elevated, raising their chances of developing of diabetes. Even babies fed a healthy diet after birth tended to be overweight. The female rats were particularly badly hit, suggesting key differences in metabolism between the sexes, the researchers found.
According to co-researcher Prof Neil Strickland, it is very probable that humans would be similarly affected, with previous studies showing a correlation between a kid’s weight and that of his or her parents.
“Humans share a number of fundamental biological systems with rats, so there is good reason – to assume the effects we see in rats may be repeated in humans,” he said.
The results of the study have been published in the Journal of Physiology .
Sources: The Times Of India