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Expectant Mothers Who Eat A High-Fat Diet Predetermine Diabetes In Their Children

March 28, 2011: 09:37 AM EST
Pregnant women who consume a high-fat diet may be setting their children up for the onset of diabetes, according to a study in rats by University of Illinois researchers. Researchers fed obesity-resistant rats either a high-fat diet or a control diet from the start of gestation. The high-fat diet closely mimicked a typical Western diet containing 45 percent fat. When the offspring were born, the blood sugar levels of the high-fat group’s newborns were double those of the newborns in the control group. Diet alone produced the results because the mother rats were not obese at the beginning of the experiment and all had normal blood sugar levels. The high-fat diet offspring also had epigenetic modifications to genes that regulate glucose metabolism.
R. S. Strakovsky, et al., "Gestational High Fat Diet Programs Hepatic Phosphoenolpyruvate Carboxykinase (Pck) Expression and Histone Modification in Neonatal Offspring Rats", The Journal of Physiology, March 28, 2011, © The Physiological Society
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