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High-fructose diet during pregnancy can have lasting effect on children

Researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch have shown that an increased consumption of fructose in a mouse model during pregnancy increases the risk of offspring developing obesity and heart disease. High-fructose corn syrup is used to sweeten food and beverages, and some reports suggest that refined sugars account for more than half of all sweeteners used in the US food supply chain. The authors compared the phenotype of the offspring of mice who were on a high-fructose diet during pregnancy to those on a normal diet.

The high fructose diet  was designed to mimic a diet that contained high amounts of sugary soft drinks. The research team were especially interested in the amount of abdominal fat tissue and fat around the liver, which they measured using computed tomography. They found that both female and male offspring of the high fructose diet mice were fatter, had higher glucose levels and higher blood pressure compared to the control offspring. The authors are hoping to expand their research which could have large implications as a very high proportion of the world’s processed food uses fructose and fructose based syrups as sweeteners.

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