Friday, July 08, 2005

Prenatal Nutrition Can Prevent Adult Diabetes

If you needed one more reason to eat healthy while you're
pregnant, here it is. Researchers at the Joslin Diabetes
Center in Boston, Massachusetts have found a link between
prenatal nutrition and adult onset diabetes. In the study, a
team of researchers led by Dr. Mary-Elizabeth Patti
deliberately malnourished a group of mice during the third
trimester of pregnancy.

As expected, the mice who were born to malnourished mothers
were low birthweight. After birth, all the baby mice were
fed a healthy diet, and within a few weeks, the low birth
weight babies had caught up with their peers and seemed
perfectly healthy. They weren't, though. After reaching
adulthood, the majority of mice from the malnourished group
developed Type 2 diabetes. While low birthweight has been
known as a risk factor for the development of diabetes, the
Joslin study established an unmistakable link between
prenatal nutrition and diabetes.

This isn't the first study that pointed to poor prenatal
nutrition as a cause of disorders and problems in the child.
It used to be believed that no matter how poor a diet a
pregnant woman ate, the effects on the child would be
minimal. Doctors thought that the baby's needs came first,
and the body would draw on stores of nutrients and needs in
the mother's body. If the mother didn't get enough calcium,
popular wisdom said, the baby would deplete the calcium
stored in its mother's bones.

The damage done to the pancreas in utero seems to be
irreversible, even with proper nutrition after birth. In
addition, while low birthweight babies are at risk for
developing diabetes as adults because of pancreatic
function, high birth weight babies (over 8 pounds) are also
at increased risk because they're resistant to insulin. It
seems that too much is just as dangerous as too little.

So what's an expectant mother to do? The answer is simple:
make sure that your body is getting the proper nutrition
throughout your pregnancy. Nutritionists at the American
Dietetic Association recommend eating about 300 calories
more per day while you're pregnant. They offer these diet
guidelines for pregnant women:

Those extra calories shouldn't just be applied willy-nilly,
though. According to the American Dietetic Association, your
diet as a pregnant woman should include the following:

The best thing that you can do for your baby is to eat a
healthy, varied diet that will provide all the nutrients he
or she needs to grow right. According to nutritionists, your
body needs at least 200 extra calories daily to account for
the additional stresses that it's undergoing.

Want another bonus? Watching your nutrition during your
pregnancy is that you reduce your risk of developing
diabetes yourself. Gestational diabetes can cause
complications in your pregnancy, including preeclampsia and
premature delivery.

If you're pregnant or planning to become pregnant in the
next six months, a visit to a nutritionist can help you work
out a healthy eating and supplement plan that will provide
your body with all the nutrition it needs to grow a healthy
baby. He or she can help you fit your favorite foods into a
balanced diet, and make suggestions that will improve your
overall health.

It may be a good idea to ask your obstetrician or midwife
for a referral to a good nutritionist. He or she can help
you put together a healthy eating plan that will carry both
you and your baby through pregnancy in the full bloom of
Likely causes and cures of diabetic symptems!

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