Mom's Rich, Fatty Diet May Trigger Taste For Drugs In Offspring

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Yesterday, we reported on a powerful link between kids who gulp down sweet, sugar-laden drinks and their increased risk of becoming obese. Here's a sad, what-goes-around-comes-around postscript to that story:

sugarMothers (at least mother rats) fed high-fat, high-sugar diets while pregnant may have kids with a "taste" for alcohol and a sensitivity to drugs, according to research presented at an annual meeting of the American Psychological Association.

Here's some of the APA news release:


Previous research with lab animals and people has shown that overeating foods that taste good alters brain reward systems, and diets with excessive fat and sugar can lead to increased appetite as well as some addiction-like behaviors, Avena said. "Our findings suggest that even while [rats are] still in the womb, exposure to high-fat and sugar-rich diets can, in addition to increasing body weight, lead to a predisposition to drink alcohol and a sensitivity to drugs," she said.

The bottom line of yesterday's study on children and obesity is here:

...four and five-year-old kids who are regular drinkers of sugary sweetened beverages — defined as soda, sports drinks and fruit drinks that are are not 100% fruit juiced based, such as Kool-Aid or Sunny-D — were at greater risk of overweight and obesity as compared to those kids who never or infrequently imbibed in these drinks.

This program aired on August 6, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.

Rachel Zimmerman Twitter Reporter
Rachel Zimmerman previously reported on health and the intersection of health and business for WBUR. She is working on a memoir about rebuilding her family after her husband’s suicide.