Mothers Diet During Pregnancy Can Make Kids Fat

Mothers Diet During Pregnancy Can Make Kids Fat

Mothers Diet During Pregnancy Can Make Kids Fat - Pregnant Women Who Diet Can Make Kids FatThe maternal diet during pregnancy affects the growth and development of the growing fetus. Studies have shown that at the early stage of development an unhealthy maternal diet might adversely affect the development process of the fetus.

Researchers have linked several chronic diseases to DNA changes that occurred in the womb owing to deficiency of nutrients in the mother’s diet.

Mother’s diet increases obesity risk in offspring

In a recent study, researchers have found an association between the diet of a pregnant woman and her offspring’s risk of becoming obese or overweight in later life. According to the international study, poor maternal diet during pregnancy might stimulate epigenetic changes that alter the DNA of the fetus, leading to obesity in later life.

The manner in which a person responds to diet and lifestyle factors is influenced by epigenetic changes. Although the function of a DNA is modified during epigenetic changes at the early stage of development, the actual DNA sequence that a child inherits from his/her parents is not affected by the change.

According to the findings, to be published in the journal Diabetes, the epigenetic changes that increase obesity risk in later life is unrelated to the body mass index of the mother and the weight of the baby at birth.

From the umbilical cord tissue samples of three hundred babies, researchers evaluated the epigenetic changes. The findings showed that the epigenetic changes measured at birth could predict the degree of obesity in children. The study authors found that nearly a quarter of the variation in body weight is attributable to epigenetic changes at birth.

The study indicates that pregnant women should carefully plan their meals.

Ideal pregnancy diet

A balanced nutritious diet is beneficial for the growing fetus as well as for the expectant mother. A pregnant woman could meet the physical challenges of pregnancy with the help of a healthy diet. The maternal diet is the only source of nutrition for the unborn child. Hence, your diet during pregnancy will determine the quality of your child’s health.

Carbohydrates and sugar

In an earlier study, a University of Auckland study team found that a sugar rich pregnancy diet harms female fetuses. The findings from the animal study, published in the journal Endocrinology, showed that female offspring of rodents who consumed fructose rich solutions during pregnancy had higher blood sugar levels.

They also had high levels of leptin, a hormone secreted by the fat cells. Elevated leptin level is linked to higher risks of strokes, heart attacks and blood clots. Moreover, a sugary maternal diet is linked to smaller placentas in female fetuses. A small placenta reduces nutrition supply, adversely affecting the development of the fetus.

Although a sugary or carbohydrate rich diet is unsuitable for a pregnant woman, severely curtailing carbohydrate intake is harmful for the mother and the fetus. Carbohydrate is the primary source of fuel for the body. During pregnancy, your daily diet should contain 175grams of carbohydrate. Replace the refined carbohydrates in your diet with whole grain products. Fruits and vegetables are also sources of healthy carbohydrates, fructose and dietary fibers.

Healthy protein

In a Cambridge University study, researchers found that a pregnancy diet without adequate healthy proteins is linked to type 2 diabetes in the offspring in later life. Type 2 diabetes that develops from reduced sensitivity or resistance to insulin is a major cause of obesity. A poor diet during pregnancy might silence a gene linked to development of pancreatic cells and insulin production in later life. To make matters worse, even your grandchildren might inherit this defective gene.

To reduce the risk of health problems in your children, include sufficient healthy proteins in your pregnancy diet. Fish, lean meat, egg, poultry, milk, dairy products, cereals, pulses and legumes are the best sources of healthy proteins.

Antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables

Antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables might lower the risk of obesity in the offspring. Researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia have reported the benefits of antioxidant rich pregnancy diet in the journal Diabetes. Antioxidant vitamins inhibit oxidative stress.

Fruits and vegetables are loaded with antioxidant rich nutrients. Pack your pregnancy diet with enough vitamins C and E rich foods. Lemons, oranges, grapefruits, guavas, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, apples, grapes, pear and berries are the richest sources of vitamin C. The powerful antioxidant vitamin strengthens the immune system, aids absorption of iron and vitamin E. A pregnant woman should consume 85mg of vitamin C daily.

Vitamin E, believed to be one of the most powerful antioxidants in nature, is found in spinach, mustard green, Swiss chard, sunflower seeds, almonds, olives, tomato, bell peppers, broccoli and kiwifruit. A pregnant woman needs around 15mg of vitamin E daily.

Dietary fats

In a previous study, a Rockefeller University research team found that a fat rich maternal diet during pregnancy triggered brain changes in the fetus, which made the offspring susceptible to overeating and food cravings.

A balanced diet should contain healthy fats. Thirty to thirty-five per cent of your daily calorie requirement should be met through fat intake. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats should be present in the pregnancy diet.

Vegetable oil such as sunflower, canola, olive, mustard and peanut oils are rich sources of monounsaturated fats. Omega-3 fatty acids found in large quantities in fish oil are beneficial for the mother and the developing child. These polyunsaturated fats are also found in flaxseeds, whole grains, canola oil and walnuts.

However, a healthy pregnancy diet should contain very small amounts of saturated fats. Butter, bacon, heavy cream, regular sour cream and coconut should be eliminated from the diet of a pregnant woman. A pregnant woman should stay away from deep fried foods such as French fries, cookies, cakes and pies that contain hydrogenated or trans fats.

Dairy products

Milk and dairy products are loaded with calcium, vitamin D, amino acids and phosphorous. These nutrients are needed for the development of the bones, muscles and nerves of the fetus. A pregnancy diet should comprise of three to four servings of milk and dairy products.

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