Researchers recently looked at the effects of a woman’s pre-conception diet on her child’s health, and now scientists in the US have made more interesting claims about the eating habits of a mum-to-be.
According to research carried out by a team at the Rockefeller University in New York, a mum’s diet during pregnancy could affect her unborn child’s taste for cigarettes and alcohol.
Furthermore, it was found that the children of mums who gorge on junk food during pregnancy could be programmed to automatically crave it alongside nicotine and alcohol.
While the research was carried out on laboratory rats, the scientists believe that it could tell them a lot about how our diets affect our little ones during pregnancy.
As part of the study, the researchers compared teenage rats whose mothers had eaten fatty food when pregnant, with animals whose mothers were kept on a normal diet while pregnant. They were then placed in large cages with levers that released nicotine and alcohol, and were trained in how to work them.
The team found that those creatures exposed to a fat-rich diet during pregnancy craved nicotine, and even preferred a shot of nicotine and alcohol together.
The results of the study were presented at an annual conference in Denver this week, with the research team stating their belief that exposure to fat before birth programmes the child's brain to enjoy nicotine and alcohol.
The latest piece of research is part of a wider study into how a child’s health is pre-programmed from as early as pre-conception.