Pregnant women here in Syracuse are often flooded with information about how to best handle their pregnancies to have the best chance for healthy children. Certainly more and more expectant mothers here are taking advice not to smoke or drink alcohol if they want healthy children. Now it has been reported more good advice to help their children avoid diabetes is to stay away from a high fat diet during pregnancy.
ScienceDaily has reported “High-Fat Diet During Pregnancy Programs Child for Future Diabetes, Study Suggests”, http://bit.ly/k8j2jx. This study, which has been published in the Journal of Physiology, says that a high-fat diet during pregnancy may program a woman’s baby for future diabetes, even if she herself is not obese or diabetic, http://bit.ly/kqx665. It is hoped this information will be made available to pregnant women at Birthright and other pregnancy care centers here in Syracuse, http://binged.it/iXgikh.
Yuan-Xiang Pan, a professor of nutrition, who worked on this study has said “We found that exposure to a high-fat diet before birth modifies gene expression in the livers of offspring so they are more likely to overproduce glucose, which can cause early insulin resistance and diabetes.” It was found that the high-fat diet which caused these changes was a typical western diet which contained 45 percent fat. Pan is hoping that this study will give doctors a diagnostic tool which will help to screen newborns who are born with this propensity so they can help children keep their blood sugar in a normal range and therefore give them their best chance of avoiding diabetes.
The researchers in this study fed obesity-resistant rats either a high-fat or a control diet from the first day of gestation. Due to the fact the animals were not obese before this study began, the scientists could determine that diet alone had produced these effects. Rita Strakovsky, one of the researchers, has said “At birth, offspring in the high-fat group had blood sugar levels that were twice as high as those in the control group, even though their mothers had normal levels.” It was found at birth the high-fat offspring also had epigenetic modifications to genes which regulate glucose metabolism.
Pan has said if people were aware of these epigentic modifications they could change their diet and lifestyle to compensate for their predisposition, which could delay or even prevent the development of diabetes. He commented “We’d like to see if diet after birth could alleviate this problem that was programmed before birth. Strakovsky has gone on to stress the importance of making dietary recommendations for pregnant women more available to assist them in preventing this health problem.
Furthermore, Pan has said “Until now we didn’t realize that a mother’s diet during pregnancy had a long-term effect on the metabolic pathways that affect her child’s glucose production. Now that we know this, we urge pregnant women to eat a balanced low-fat diet that follows government guidelines. Then a woman can prime her child for a healthy life instead of future medical struggles.”
Photographer: renjith krishnan
Mandel News Service