Increased fructose intake during pregnancy can cause significant changes in the mother's metabolic function and milk composition, and alter the metabolism of her offspring, researchers at the University of Otago, Wellington, have found.
The research conducted by Dr. Clint Gray, a research fellow in the Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, found that an increase in fructose in the diet of female guinea pigs resulted in highly significant and consistent changes in the free fatty acids circulating in the blood of their offspring. This happened even though the offspring did not consume fructose themselves.
The research is published in the international journal Frontiers in Endocrinology.
PhD student Erin Smith.
First author, PhD student Erin Smith, says, "Previous research has shown that poor diet during pregnancy can predispose offspring to long-term consequences, including the development of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease later in life."
"However, there is a lack of data to study the effects of increased fructose intake before and during pregnancy and subsequent adverse effects on lactation, fetal development and the metabolic function of the offspring."
The two test groups received either a control diet or a fructose diet before and during pregnancy. The fructose group was given additional fructose water to replicate the increased intake of sugary beverages 60 days before mating and until their offspring were born. Fructose made up 16.5 percent of their diet and was very similar to the average human consumption of fructose / sugar in Western countries, which is estimated to be about 14 percent of the average daily caloric intake.
“We have found that fructose has a significant influence on the metabolic status of pregnant women and the level of free fatty acids in their milk. We also provide the first evidence that offspring from fructose-fed mothers have a very specific pattern of elevated free fatty acids and altered lipid metabolism that persists throughout early life. "
Ms. Smith says elevated levels of circulating free fatty acids are known to increase the risk of obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease – showing that increased fatty acid synthesis occurs after consuming fructose .
She says the evidence suggests that maternal sub-optimal diets, such as diets high in fructose and refined sugar, may contribute to the increase in metabolic disorders in humans that has been seen over the past 40 to 50 years.
"Our study highlights the importance of limiting the addition of refined fructose such as sugary beverages and the pursuit of a more balanced diet in women before and during pregnancy and lactation."
The article “Fructose Consumption During Pregnancy Affects Milk Lipid Composition and Lipid Profiles of Offspring in Guinea Pigs” was published in the international journal Frontiers in Endocrinology.
You can read the research article here
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