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NIH Study: Pregnancy Diet High in Refined Grains Could Increase Child Obesity Risk

A study conducted at the National Institutes of Health suggests that children were more likely to be obese at age 7 if they were born to mothers who ate high proportions of refined grains during their pregnancy. The study mothers also had gestational diabetes (a type of diabetes that occurs only during pregnancy). Study authors noted that other research has linked diets high in refined grains to obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

I can’t help but lament, if only we’d known some of these things many years ago, when mothers were being told not to imbibe in alcohol or to smoke during their pregnancies for the sake of their babies! But instead of ruing what we didn’t know, we can take heart on what we do know — and that is that a diet high in healthy omega-3 fats and low in refined sugars and grains is essential for a healthy pregnancy.

For example, research demonstrates supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids in the last trimester of pregnancy may reduce the incidence of asthma and wheezing in children. Consuming healthy omega-3 fats such as raw nuts and seeds and wild-caught Alaskan salmon is also associated with reduction of autoimmune responses connected to type 1 diabetes — a disease that usually begins in childhood.

This brings up a topic that is most dear to me right now: Healthy fats, sourced from organic, whole foods and grass fed meats and dairy are absolutely necessary parts of every good diet. This type of diet encourages reduction of refined grains and sugars from your menu and an increase in healthy fats. I address this issue in my new book, “Fat for Fuel,” where I detail the importance of training your body to burn fat rather than glucose for its fuel.

To effectively burn body fat, you may need as much as 50 to 85 percent of your daily calories to come from beneficial monosaturated and saturated fats. This aligns perfectly with recent research showing that high-fat diets are superior for weight loss. And this works at any age, for anyone.
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