Can children suffer from obesity due to their father’s diet?

Moms usually change several habits during the period of pregnancy and lactation, including the way to eat, paying more attention to the foods consumed to have a more peaceful pregnancy.

Recently, a study analyzed that the way parents eat should also be adequate, since this can affect the baby’s intestine-brain axis, the system responsible for connecting the two organs and that can cause metabolism problems, including obesity.

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The study was published in the journal Food Research Internationalfunded by FAPESP through two projects, 19/09724-8 and 17/09646-1.

The research consisted of dosing and analyzing proteins and other factors related to maintaining the balance between supplied and dissipated energy, metabolic diseases and inflammatory processes in male rat offspring. Thus, researchers came to the conclusion that changes can increase susceptibility to these diseases.

Research considerations

At the beginning of the research, males had a hypercaloric diet for ten weeks before mating, while females had this diet during the gestation and lactation period.

Then, the pups had their tissues and blood analyzed after lactation, at 21 days old, as well as at the beginning of their adult life, at 90 days old. The levels of some bacteria in the intestinal microbiota of rodents were also analyzed.

Professor Luciana Pellegrini Pisani, from the Department of Biosciences at the Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp), Campus Baixada Santista, who was also a research advisor, told Estadão:

“In cases of paternal diet rich in fats and sugars, we found important changes in the offspring soon after lactation, such as, for example, the increase in the serum concentration of lipopolysaccharides, which was positively associated with the activation of inflammatory pathways in the hypothalamus (cerebral region involved in appetite control.

“We also had a decrease in Z01, which is associated with increased intestinal permeability, leading to greater translocation of lipopolysaccharides. [escape de LPS para fora do intestino]”he added.

Thus, as a conclusion on the impact of paternal feeding, Pisani highlights: “Do these findings mean that, at birth, the offspring is already doomed to suffer metabolic problems? No, although there is a greater propensity, it is possible to reduce these deleterious effects with reprogramming through changes in lifestyle, that is, physical activity, adequate, balanced food intake and without severe restrictions or drastic increases”.

“The study opens up the possibility that, from the moment there is a planning for pregnancy, there will also be a change in the lifestyle of both the future mother and the future father – which will make a big difference in the lives of children for generations. ”, concluded the teacher.

The full study (in English) can be seen on here.

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