Article at a Glance
• For pregnant women, low-carb diets can actually increase their baby’s risk of obesity.
• A recent study gives us important insights into the factors that are contributing to childhood obesity.
• While pregnant, make sure to eat plenty of whole grain breads and brown rice.


We have known for years that a pregnant woman’s diet is important to the health of her baby, but it looks like it may have longer lasting effects than we thought. It turns out that eating a low-carbohydrate diet during pregnancy can actually affect your child’s DNA, increasing their risk for obesity.

A recent study found that children whose mothers ate a diet low in carbohydrates while pregnant showed changes to how their genes are expressed. These changes have been tied to higher amounts of body fat when the children were ages six and nine. Surprisingly, this factor had a stronger association with obesity than heredity or lifestyle.

Researchers believe that babies who don’t receive enough carbohydrates while in utero adapt by making changes to their bodies and DNA that allow them to store more fat. This could be an important key for doctors who are working to understand what factors contribute to childhood obesity—a problem that often leads to heart disease and diabetes.

So if you want to help your child avoid obesity, it is a good idea to eat plenty of carbohydrates. However, it is still a good idea to reach for the whole grain breads and brown rice instead of the donuts.

For More Information:

Can a Mother’s Pregnancy Diet Influence Her Child’s Future Weight? (TIME)

Study: Pregnant women who cut carbs could affect child’s DNA (Deseret News)

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