It is common knowledge that pregnant women should not smoke, drink alcohol, or do drugs during their pregnancy in order to ensure a healthy baby. But a new study out of Australia now suggests that women would be wise to cut out junk food during their pregnancy as well. Babies born to mothers who eat junk food while pregnant may be more likely to be addicted to junk food during their lifetime.
The study was based on the behavior of pregnant rats and their offspring. One group of pregnant rats was fed a diet resembling a junk food diet that is high in fats and sugars, while another group of pregnant rats was fed a diet lower in fats and sugars. The offspring of both groups were observed to determine their food preferences after they were weaned. Offspring of the “junk food” rat mothers not only preferred more high-fat foods, but also exhibited an altered gene expression in the reward pathway of their brains that predisposed them to junk food addiction. The pleasurable sensation that comes from eating fatty and sugary foods is similar to a “high” achieved by addictive drugs, and people addicted to junk foods feel the need to consume more and more to get the same sensation of pleasure.
Mothers-to-be should always take extra precaution in what they are eating and drinking during their pregnancy, but the effects of having a diet consisting of any junk foods during this time may be even longer-lasting than originally believed. Considering that the mother’s body is nurturing and carrying the child, it makes sense that if you treat the mother’s body well (and feed it well) it will positively affect the child through its entire life. So the moral of the story here? The mother should eat as healthy as she would like her child to eat!
Read the entire article here: Junk Food Addiction Linked to Pregnant Mothers’ Eating Habits, Research Says