A new study published in The Journal of Physiology has warned pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers to avoid diets high in fructose-containing sugars as it increases the risk of their kids being obese or diabetic.
Researchers from the University of South Australia gave female rats water supplemented with fructose-containing sugars at an amount equivalent to those in standard soft drinks, before, during and after pregnancy.
After birth, offsprings were weaned by a mother who had access to the same fructose-containing beverage, or by one who had access to water only.
Body weight, fat mass and glucose control in the offspring were measured and tissues were analysed to see the amount and type of fat in their livers.
Offspring from mothers who had a diet high in fructose-containing sugars were found to have a detrimental fat composition in their livers.
This can negatively impact the metabolic health of the offspring, contributing to the development of obesity or type 2 diabetes in the future.
“This study highlights the importance of maternal nutrition during the lactation period. Guidelines for consuming added sugars or sugar-sweetened beverages during pregnancy should consider this,” said Sheridan Gentili, senior lecturer in biological sciences at the University of South Australia, and lead investigator of the study.
“As there are differences in physiology between humans and rodents, we need to be careful when translating this research directly to humans.”
Many kinds of cereal, sugary soft drinks and other processed foods have fructose-containing sugars, including sucrose and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
Excess consumption of these sugars is a major contributor to obesity and type 2 diabetes.