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Scientists Study Atkins-Style Diets During Preg


Active Member
Sep 10, 2004
Scientists Study Atkins-Style Diets During Pregnancy

A study, by the universities of Edinburgh and Southampton, to find out the long-term effects of Atkins-style diets on unborn babies is to begin today.

Researchers are investigating whether a woman who consumes a high-meat, low-carbohydrate diet in late pregnancy risks damaging the future health of her child.

The study focuses on a group of nearly 1,000 men and women born in Motherwell, Lanarkshire, in the late 1960s whose mothers’ diets were similar to Atkins.

Dr Rebecca Reynolds, of the University of Edinburgh, said the research would help to identify if such diets increased stress hormone levels and altered blood sugar levels – factors which can contribute to the development of diabetes, osteoporosis, coronary heart disease or high blood pressure.

She said: “We now know that growth from the very earliest days in the womb affects health in adulthood, particularly the risks of heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis. If the mother eats an unbalanced diet, this can trigger her body to produce increased amounts of stress hormones, which can then have long-term effects on the stress responses of her unborn baby. These stress responses could be an important part of the link between development in the womb and health in later life.”

Dr Reynolds said it was anticipated that the stress responses of those whose mothers ate Atkins-type diets during pregnancy would be greater than those who ate more balanced diets.

Dr Keith Godfrey, of the University of Southampton’s School of Medicine, said he hoped the findings would encourage people to modify their eating habits. He added: “During pregnancy, the developing baby is wholly dependent upon the mother for an adequate and appropriate supply of nutrients.

“Many young women today eat unbalanced diets, such as the Atkins diet. This is an important part of research to determine how best to improve a mother’s nutrition during pregnancy, which could have lifelong benefits for the health of the baby.”

The subjects were chosen for the project because the diets followed by their mothers during pregnancy were believed by local obstetrician Dr Kerr Grieve to be unhealthy and the source of many problems.