Fructose intake by women during pregnancy results in sex-specific changes in fetal and neonatal endocrinology, found in a study.
Fructose is a simple sugar found naturally in honey, fruit and some vegetables. Diets high in dietary fructose, particularly due to calorically sweetened beverages, are now increasingly common and have been shown to be detrimental to the regulation of energy intake and body adiposity. With the increasing prevalence of maternal obesity and its association with gestational diabetes, there has been growing interest in maternal nutrition on the risk of childhood and adult disease in the offspring.
"There has been a marked increase in the consumption of fructose-sweetened beverages and foods, particularly among women of reproductive age," said Mark Vickers PhD, of the University of Auckland in New Zealand and lead author of the study." This is the first time that it has been suggested that female and male fetuses react differently to maternal fructose consumption, and that these sex-specific changes may be associated in changes in placental development."
"Further studies are now critical to establish the long-term effects of maternal fructose intake on the health and well-being of offspring and whether this study's observed sex differences elicit different risk profiles for metabolic disease into the post-weaning period," said Deborah Sloboda, PhD, also of the University of Auckland and co-author of the study. Dr Vickers is currently conducting a follow-up study in rats.