A new study says that women who drink excessive amount of fructose-sweetened beverages during pregnancy or breast-feeding are more likely to have obese kids.
Fructose, as in high-fructose corn syrup, is widely found in regular soda pop, fruit juices and other drinks.
The study, conducted in rats, found that the first male offspring had signs of metabolic endocrine disorders in adulthood, even though the sons ate a normal diet with no extra fructose, said co-author Dr Eduardo Spinedi, head of the Neuroendocrinology Research Unit at the Multidisciplinary Institute of Cell Biology in La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
"Based on our study and others, we advise that pregnant and breast-feeding mothers consume a balanced diet with low fructose intake, to help prevent obesity in their children," said Spinedi.
During the study, the researchers divided pregnant rats into three groups. One group of rats received fructose excess dissolved in their drinking water during pregnancy, but they drank plain tap water after they gave birth and while they breast-fed.
The second group was the reverse; they received fructose supplementation during breast-feeding but not pregnancy and the third group acted as controls.
The study showed that mothers that received fructose-supplemented water during pregnancy consumed about 22 percent of their calories a day from fructose.
For rats that drank fructose water during breast-feeding, fructose made up about 14 percent of their daily calories.
The researchers also found that males born from the rats given fructose during breast-feeding had the most pronounced abnormalities,
These rats had increased food intake and body weight from days 49 to 60 (until the rats became adults).
They also had increased blood levels of the so-called hunger hormone, leptin, which is associated with obesity.
The offspring of the rats receiving fructose during pregnancy, although not obese had an unbalanced metabolism.
The findings were presented at The Endocrine Society's 91st Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.