Meat diet / pregnancy

Discussion in 'Food and nutrition' started by [email protected], Apr 3, 2006.

  1. High meat diet 'can stress baby'

    Maternal diet can affect a baby's long term health
    High protein, low carbohydrate diets should be avoided during pregnancy
    as they can lead to more stressed offspring, research suggests.
    A UK team followed a group of 86 children born in 1967-8 to mothers who
    were told to eat a pound of red meat a day to avoid pregnancy
    complications.

    The study found the more meat the mother ate, the higher the levels of
    stress hormone cortisol in the child.

    The research is being presented at a medical conference in Glasgow.

    We are very interested in foetal programming which says how we are
    born as a baby sets us up for future health

    Dr Rebecca Reynolds

    The subjects, now in their 30s, were asked by the teams from the
    Universities of Edinburgh and Southampton to perform a series of
    stressful tasks including public speaking and mental arithmetic.

    Their blood pressure levels were recorded and cortisol levels were
    measured before and after each task.

    Dr Rebecca Reynolds, who led the study, said it was designed to see how
    events in pregnancy could affect the health of offspring in later life.


    "We are very interested in foetal programming which says how we are
    born as a baby sets us up for future health."

    The women from Motherwell, Lanarkshire, included in the study were
    advised by an obstetrician to eat very high levels of meat and low
    levels of carbohydrate to avoid a condition called pre-eclampsia
    associated with high blood pressure in pregnancy, she said.

    'Not healthy'

    "This study adds to the increasing evidence of the importance of the
    maternal diet and suggests that one of the ways in which it can have
    these long term effects is by permanently altering stress hormone
    levels.

    "We don't know why this occurs - it may be that the baby is put under
    stress during pregnancy which causes irreversibly high levels of
    cortisol."

    But she added: "Given the recent popularity of low-carbohydrate/high
    protein diets, such as the Atkins diet, this data also suggests that
    these diets should be avoided during pregnancy."

    Dr Doris Campbell, reader in obstetrics and gynaecology at Aberdeen
    University, said it was probably not a good idea to mess around with
    diet during pregnancy.

    She said that energy restriction was not good during pregnancy and that
    most pregnant women simply ate to appetite - which tended to grow to
    compensate for increased tiredness.

    "These sorts of high protein, low carbohydrate diets are not
    particularly healthy in general, but I certainly would not advocate
    them in pregnancy," she added.

    The research is being presented at the European Congress of
    Endocrinology in Glasgow on Tuesday.


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    Tom


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