Most women today know that a prenatal diet critically affects children’s health — but what if a woman’s pre-prenatal diet mattered too? Researchers at The University of Alabama in Hunstville investigated the question by studying fruit flies and discovered that the diet that the larvae were raised on greatly influenced their offspring’s vitality.
The study fed different groups of larvae respectively on protein-rich and sugar-rich diets. It then compared the health of their offspring.
“We definitely saw a significant effect,” said Dr. Luciano Matzkin, the lead author in the study. “Maternal larval diets higher in protein increased the overall fecundity of the adult mother, the number of eggs she produced, and also had a beneficial effect on the next generation.”
Dr. Matzkin is also confident that the research can have reaching applications to humans: “Our research is very multifaceted and allows us to then have insights into many different species.”
While future research is required to determine how exactly the findings apply to humans, a recommendation for women to be conscious of their diets starting at a young age isn’t exactly a bad thing. A healthy prenatal diet is, of course, still critical, but it may not be enough.