Eating Lots of Junk Food When You’re Pregnant Can Turn Baby Into a Junk Food Junkie

Junk food copy

Junk food copy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When pregnant women eat a high junk food diet, they may be altering the development of the opioid signaling pathway in their baby’s brains. These changes make the child less sensitive to opiods that are released when the child eats foods with high fat and sugar content. This decreased sensitivity means the child needs to eat larger amounts of sugar and fat-containing food in order to get the  “feel good” response that opiods create. In effect, the child becomes a junk food junkie, craving more and more sugar and fat.

These findings are the result of a study performed by Australian researchers on the offspring of two groups of rats. One group of mother rats were fed normal rat food and the other group were fed a variety of human junk foods during pregnancy and lactation. After the babies had been weaned, they were injected each day with Naloxone, an opioid receptor blocker, to stop the release of dopamine and block opioid signaling. This lowers the intake of fat and sugar.

The researchers discovered that the opioid receptor blocker wasn’t as successful in decreasing fat and sugar intake in the babies of the mothers who were fed junk food. This means that the opiod receptor blocker was unable to work properly because  the opioid signaling pathway in these babies was less sensitive as compared to the opioid signaling pathway in the babies whose mothers eat normal rat food.









~ by chasm63 on March 1, 2013.

One Response to “Eating Lots of Junk Food When You’re Pregnant Can Turn Baby Into a Junk Food Junkie”

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