Saturday, August 18, 2007


Another excuse for the usual propaganda. But it only applies to rats so no need to worry. Rats don't usually eat McDonalds last I heard so are hardly a good model for human behaviour. A double-blind human trial should not be too hard to arrange. The results would undoubtedly be amusing

Mothers who eat junk food during pregnancy and breastfeeding may put their children at risk of overeating and obesity, a study by the Royal Veterinary College of London has found. Thus, pregnant and breastfeeding women probably shouldn't indulge in fatty, sugary and salty foods under the misguided assumption that they're "eating for two," the researchers said.

Published Aug. 14 in The British Journal of Nutrition, the study found that rats on a diet of processed junk food such as doughnuts, muffins, biscuits, potato chips and sweets during pregnancy and lactation produced offspring that overate and had unusual preferences for fatty, sweet and salty junk foods.

The findings probably have implications for humans, the researchers said. Obesity is a major cause of disease, associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Some 400 million people were obese globally in 2005, according to the World Health Organization. "Eating large quantities of junk food when pregnant and breastfeeding could impair the normal control of appetite and promote an exacerbated taste for junk food in offspring," said lead author Stephanie Bayol.

Appetite control is a complex process, involving hormones that signal to the brain to regulate energy balance, hunger and the feeling of fullness. Feeding can stimulate "reward centres" in the brain, which can sometimes override sensations of fullness. Previous research has found that fatty, sugary junk foods inhibit the fullness signals while stimulating the reward centres.

Exposure to a maternal junk early in life may help explain why some people "might find it harder than others to control their junk food intake even when given access to healthier foods later in life," said Bayol.


Journal abstract:

A maternal `junk food' diet in pregnancy and lactation promotes an exacerbated taste for `junk food' and a greater propensity for obesity in rat offspring

By Stephanie A. Bayol et al.


Obesity is generally associated with high intake of junk foods rich in energy, fat, sugar and salt combined with a dysfunctional control of appetite and lack of exercise. There is some evidence to suggest that appetite and body mass can be influenced by maternal food intake during the fetal and suckling life of an individual. However, the influence of a maternal junk food diet during pregnancy and lactation on the feeding behaviour and weight gain of the offspring remains largely uncharacterised.

In this study, six groups of rats were fed either rodent chow alone or with a junk food diet during gestation, lactation and/or post-weaning. The daily food intakes and body mass were measured in forty-two pregnant and lactating mothers as well as in 216 offspring from weaning up to 10 weeks of age.

Results showed that 10 week-old rats born to mothers fed the junk food diet during gestation and lactation developed an exacerbated preference for fatty, sugary and salty foods at the expense of protein-rich foods when compared with offspring fed a balanced chow diet prior to weaning or during lactation alone. Male and female offspring exposed to the junk food diet throughout the study also exhibited increased body weight and BMI compared with all other offspring.

This study shows that a maternal junk food diet during pregnancy and lactation may be an important contributing factor in the development of obesity.

British Journal of Nutrition, 15 August, 2007

Umbilical rethink

Cutting or clamping the umbilical cord immediately after birth could be harmful to the newborn child, doctors say. About half of maternity units are estimated to clamp and then remove the cord between mother and child soon after birth, but this could increase the risk of serious blood disorders, according to research.

Leaving the cord intact for a few minutes can increase blood supply and iron levels in the baby and reduce the risk of anaemia, a common infant condition, the British Medical Journal reports today. Andrew Weeks, a senior lecturer in obstetrics at the University of Liverpool, argues that there are benefits in waiting before clamping or cutting the cord.

A study this year in the Journal of the American Medical Association said that waiting two minutes before cutting the cord reduced the risk of serious blood disorders and benefited the baby in its first few months. The Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists said that there were no guidelines on when exactly the cord should be cut.



Just some problems with the "Obesity" war:

1). It tries to impose behavior change on everybody -- when most of those targeted are not obese and hence have no reason to change their behaviour. It is a form of punishing the innocent and the guilty alike. (It is also typical of Leftist thinking: Scorning the individual and capable of dealing with large groups only).

2). The longevity research all leads to the conclusion that it is people of MIDDLING weight who live longest -- not slim people. So the "epidemic" of obesity is in fact largely an "epidemic" of living longer.

3). It is total calorie intake that makes you fat -- not where you get your calories. Policies that attack only the source of the calories (e.g. "junk food") without addressing total calorie intake are hence pissing into the wind. People involuntarily deprived of their preferred calorie intake from one source are highly likely to seek and find their calories elsewhere.

4). So-called junk food is perfectly nutritious. A big Mac meal comprises meat, bread, salad and potatoes -- which is a mainstream Western diet. If that is bad then we are all in big trouble.

5). Food warriors demonize salt and fat. But we need a daily salt intake to counter salt-loss through perspiration and the research shows that people on salt-restricted diets die SOONER. And Eskimos eat huge amounts of fat with no apparent ill-effects. And the average home-cooked roast dinner has LOTS of fat. Will we ban roast dinners?

6). The foods restricted are often no more calorific than those permitted -- such as milk and fruit-juice drinks.

7). Tendency to weight is mostly genetic and is therefore not readily susceptible to voluntary behaviour change.

8). And when are we going to ban cheese? Cheese is a concentrated calorie bomb and has lots of that wicked animal fat in it too. Wouldn't we all be better off without it? And what about butter and margarine? They are just about pure fat. Surely they should be treated as contraband in kids' lunchboxes! [/sarcasm].

Trans fats:

For one summary of the weak science behind the "trans-fat" hysteria, see here. Trans fats have only a temporary effect on blood chemistry and the evidence of lasting harm from them is dubious. By taking extreme groups in trans fats intake, some weak association with coronary heart disease has at times been shown in some sub-populations but extreme group studies are inherently at risk of confounding with other factors and are intrinsically of little interest to the average person.


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