For many decades, expecting mums were told to eat for two. However, research over the last few years had pulled back on that statement finding that maternal diet is strongly liked to a both a child’s future eating habits as well as long-term health. A recent study found yet another reason for mums-to-be to keep their diets healthy.
Published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the study maintains the importance of a healthy diet during pregnancy as a means to avoid increased glucose and insulin levels in the baby- both of which are indicative of risk for metabolic syndrome and diabetes.
The quality of mum’s diet during pregnancy is critical to fetal growth, in addition to insulin and glucose levels at time of birth. Those levels may signal a possible predisposition for diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Previous studies have determined that when a mother does not eat enough food during pregnancy, the glucose supply to other tissues get reduced so that the brain receives the proper amount, often resulting in reduced fetal growth.
Effects of diet during pregnancy when consuming a typical North American diet have far less research. What is also unknown is the effect of an imbalance between carbohydrates, fats, and protein. While most expecting women consume enough food, many have diets high in animal protein and fat, while lacking in fruits and vegetables.
This study is part of the Estudio Merida, an investigation that analyzes different parameters in newborns and their mothers. Study experts explain that more than a third of the women in the study have strayed from the more balanced Mediterranean diet and that many women do not change their eating habits during pregnancy. According to the authors, when a woman doesn’t eat properly during pregnancy the baby is born with elevated blood glucose and insulin levels, and a marker of insulin resistance. More research is needed yet authors confirm that women need to be aware of the importance of their diet during pregnancy.