Sugar Rich Pregnancy Diet Bad For Female Fetus

We know that the diet of a woman during pregnancy affects the health of her unborn child. A new study has shown that excess sugar intake during pregnancy is especially harmful for female fetuses.

A recent study at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, pregnant rats were given either water or fructose solution. Researchers found that compared to rats whose mothers took water instead of fructose or male offspring of fructose-fed mice, the female offspring of rats that were fed fructose solution had higher glucose levels in the blood and suffered from problems in insulin function.

The findings reported in the journal Endocrinology showed that female offspring of fructose-fed rodents had higher levels of leptin. Leptin is a type of hormone that controls appetite and fat metabolism. Obese people usually have high levels of leptin. High levels of the hormone, produced by the fat cells of the body, make an obese person vulnerable to blood clots, strokes and heart attacks.

The New Zealand research team further found that compared to fetuses of water-fed mice and male fetuses of fructose-fed mice, the female fetuses of mice on fructose rich diet had smaller and lighter placentas. Smaller placenta indicates that the fetus is not receiving enough nutrition. Excess sugar appears to obstruct supply of nutrients to the female fetuses.

The study warns the adverse of effect of a sugary diet. Health experts are especially worried about the marked increase in sugar consumption among women of childbearing age. Sugar is hidden in a large number of foods and beverages that are often present in the daily diet of women.

Further studies are needed to study the long-term consequence of excess fructose intake during pregnancy and gender differences in development of metabolic diseases.

Too much sugar intake is bad under all circumstances. A woman might develop strong craving for sugar during pregnancy. However, longing for sugary treats is hardly related to the body’s excess calorie requirement. The additional calorie requirement, which is usually around 300 calories during the second and third trimester of pregnancy, could be met by consuming a balanced diet comprising of proteins, and nutrient dense vegetables and fruits.