Do you often feel cravings for unhealthy food? Your mother may be blamed for your unhealthy habit. Overeating during pregnancy and nursing can rewire the baby's developing brain to crave unhealthy food. For this reason, children born to mothers who are overweight during pregnancy are more likely to become obese as adults than those born to leaner mothers, reveals a Rutgers study.
The study published in Molecular Metabolism suggested that the finding of this link from mother to child could help in developing treatments, precisely brain-altering drugs, to reduce cravings for unhealthy food.
How the study traced this link from mother to child
In the study, Rutgers researchers let some mice get obese on unlimited high-fat food during pregnancy and breastfeeding while others were kept slim on limitless healthy food. They found that mice born to obese mothers overeat more than mice born to lean mothers when given access to unhealthy food during their adulthood. However, they stay slim on unlimited healthy food.
Based on these findings, they suggested that people whose mothers were overweight during pregnancy and nursing may struggle to control their consumption of treats, but they could safely eat their fill of healthy foods.
This means children born to overweight or obese mothers tend to be heavier in adulthood than those born to leaner mothers. The study suggested that causes of obesity may go beyond environmental factors such as learning unhealthy eating habits in childhood.
Mark Rossi, a professor of psychiatry at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, stated that overnutrition during pregnancy and breastfeeding may rewire the brains of developing children and, possibly, future generations.
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Tips for children born to overweight mothers
If you're born to an overweight mother, the researchers suggest eating healthy food to satiety and avoiding junk entirely to stay lean. Even your efforts to eat moderate quantities of unhealthy treats may spur overconsumption and obesity, they said.
They are hopeful that their findings may help create drugs that would block the excess desire to consume unhealthy foods.
Eat healthy during pregnancy
If you're pregnant, you may feel more hungry than normal. But remember, you do not need to eat for two. There's no need to eliminate all of your favorite meals, but eat healthy food at regular intervals and follow a diversified diet, by adjusting the portions of various items.
Pregnant women are advised to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet including lean protein sources, low fat dairy products, whole grains, fruit, vegetables, and legumes. Also, incorporate regular exercise but make sure to consult your doctor for the same.