Children born to mothers with gestational diabetes and preeclampsia at risk for higher BMI
In response to higher obesity rates, the use of low-calorie sweeteners has risen, particularly in women and children. Daily consumption is associated with large babies and early menstruation in young females under 10 years - a known risk factor for chronic diseases. Additionally, the presence of some but not all of these sweeteners has been detected in breastmilk presenting a potential mode of transmission, according to the study.
"Understanding the impact of dietary ingredients on maternal metabolism and gut microbiota may help to define the optimal maternal diet, one which promotes a healthier future for both mother and child," says Reimer. Altering the gut microbiota of babies
Our understanding of how sweeteners affect weight gain is not complete but there is reason to believe that alterations in the gut microbiota may play a key role. In this animal study, a fecal transplant was used to show the direct influence of altered gut microbiota on causing the increased obesity risk. Transplanting fecal matter from the offspring of mothers that consumed the low-calorie sweeteners into sterile, germ free mice caused the mice to gain more weight and have worse blood glucose control. Even though the offspring had never consumed the sweeteners themselves, the changes to mom's microbiota and metabolism was sufficient to change the microbiota in their offspring and trigger obesity.
"A healthy pregnancy, including good nutrition, is important for a healthy baby," says Reimer. "Our research will continue to examine what makes an optimal diet and more importantly seek to find ways to correct disruptions to gut microbiota should they occur." Source:
University of Calgary Journal reference:
Nettleton, J.E., et al. (2020) Maternal low-dose aspartame and stevia consumption with an obesogenic diet alters metabolism, gut microbiota and mesolimbic reward system in rat dams and their offspring. Gut . doi.org/10.1136/gutjnl-2018-317505 .
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