Mums who eat sugary snacks before pregnancy more likely to have kids wired for junk food, study says

Offspring can have a predisposition to a mother’s unhealthy diet (Picture: Ella Byworth for

Sometimes children can pick up bad habits from parents.

But a new study has shed light on how early this can take place

New research, which has been published in the journal Scientific Reports, has found that mums who eat sugary and fatty meals before pregnancy have kids who are wired to crave junk food.

This is because an unhealthy diet not only causes changes in the brain but in the taste buds themselves, making children more predisposed to this diet – researchers claim.

Trials on mice found that mothers who ate high calorie and fatty meals in the five weeks before pregnancy had babies with more sweet taste receptors in their taste buds.

What’s more, even if these children were raised on a healthy diet, they were more likely to feast on treats if they could get them.

Food scientists Professor Robin Dando said: ‘If a mother has an unhealthy diet where she consumes a lot of calories through high-fat and sugary products, the offspring are going to have a predisposition for liking the unhealthy diet.

‘The origin of this is not only the changes in the brain, but there are other physical changes happening within the taste buds.’

While the study was conducted on mice, the research team from Cornell University in the USA say the results could be the same for humans.

The research therefore adds to evidence that tastebuds play a role in obesity.

Professor Robin Dando added: ‘From a public health standpoint, improving our knowledge of prenatal and early postnatal factors that program obesity in offspring may provide insight into therapeutic targets to combat the obesity epidemic – a disease easier to prevent than to cure.’

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