| Mothers' Diet Linked To Baby's Obesity
Pregnant and lactating rats fed on a diet of hydrogenated
fat during pregnancy and lactation had babies who were fatter
than rats fed a normal diet, according to new research.
The unhealthy diet has deleterious consequences even after the
fats were removed from the diet and has links to insulin production.
"We know that foetal growth is influenced by the mother's
nutritional status," explained Brazilian nutritionist Luciana
Pisani. "The nutritional conditions during pregnancy has
a major role in the metabolic and hormonal interactions between
the mother's body, placenta and foetus. To date only a few studies
have looked at the effects on trans fatty acids during pregnancy
and lactation on the metabolism of offspring in adulthood. We
found that the fatty content of the babies' bodies increased when
the mothers were fed the hydrogenated fat rich diet and this could
be traced to the gene expression of adipokines."
In an investigation to examine whether feeding pregnant and lactating
rats hydrogenised fats rich in trans fatty acids, increased the
fat content in carcass, the researchers found that their metabolic
rate dropped dramatically. Interestingly young rats that were
fed a normal diet after they were born ate less and weighed less
even though their mothers had been eating the trans fatty acids
while pregnant. The gene expression of adipokines was also examined
in relation to insulin production.
The offspring were weighed weekly and exposure to the trans-fatty
acid enriched diet after weaning led to a 40% increase in body
fat content for the young rats. Rats whose mothers were fed the
trans fatty acids and continued to eat the fats into adulthood
had the highest metabolic efficiency. The same rats increased
their insulin production.
Pisani continued, "Fats play a fundamental role in foetal
development and changes in dietary fatty acids has important implications
for foetal and postnatal development. Heavy ingestion of very
hydrogenated fats rich in trans fatty acids increases risk of
cardiovascular diseases and reduces insulin sensitivity and so
leads to type 2 diabetes. We need to investigate this further
as this has important implications for people's own diets, especially
Journal reference: Hydrogenated fat diet intake during pregnancy
and lactation modifies the PAI-1 gene expression in white adipose
tissue of offspring in adult. Lipids in Health and Disease (in