Maternal diet during pregnancy and lactation significantly influences the baby's and maternal health. A new study by Penn State College of Medicine has revealed that maternal diet during pregnancy and lactation may prime offspring for weight gain and obesity later in life. Researchers found that consuming a high-fat diet during pregnancy and lactation may put your baby at higher risk of obesity later in life.
The study suggested that obesity compromises the neuro-circuits that control how the stomach and intestine work to regulate how much we eat, and that the time around pregnancy and lactation is important in the development of these circuits. In both human and laboratory studies, babies, whose mothers were obese or consume a high-fat diet during pregnancy, were found to be much more likely to be overweight and have weight-related problems such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes and heart disease later in life.
Kirsteen Browning, associate professor of neural and behavioral sciences, said, "We found that parts of these reflexes were actually compromised even before we saw obesity and rats on the high-fat diet looked exactly the same as the control group rats in terms of weight, but their feeding reflexes were already beginning to be compromised. Not all people who were obese had mothers who ate high-fat diets when they were pregnant, and not all mothers who ate high-fat diets will have obese children and it was just one more risk factor. The principle of 'calories in, calories out' for weight loss was incredibly oversimplified, and, clearly, telling people to eat less and move more was not getting the job accomplished."
The study findings are published in the Journal of Physiology