Antioxidants play a crucial role in preventing the onset of disease, and they can make all the difference in determining whether or not children develop glucose intolerance or become obese. According to a new study out of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHP), women who consume high amounts of antioxidants before and during their pregnancies may be protecting their children against diabetes and obesity.
Noting that diets high in bad fats and carbohydrates cause harmful oxidative stress that leads to obesity and diabetes, researchers decided to study the effect that antioxidants have in mitigating their onset. The team fed four groups of test rats either a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet or a healthier and more balanced diet. The first two groups received such diets with no additional antioxidants, while the other two received extra antioxidants with their diets.
At the conclusion of the study, the group eating the unhealthy “Western” diet with no added antioxidants had significantly higher rates of inflammation and oxidative stress than the other groups, and their offspring were larger and had higher rates of glucose intolerance. The Western diet group that consumed added antioxidants, however, produced offspring with markedly lower rates of glucose intolerance and no obesity whatsoever — and these conditions persisted even after two months.
“These results suggest that if we prevent obesity, inflammation and oxidative stress in pregnant animals, we can prevent obesity in the offspring,” said Rebecca A. Simmons, MD, a neonatologist at CHP.
The study shows that not only do antioxidants help prevent obesity, but they even do so when consumed as part of the Standard American Diet (SAD). This diet consists of high intakes of red meat, sugar, high fat rate foods, refined grains, dairy products and eggs. This is not to suggest that consuming a SAD diet is beneficial, but rather that the incredible power of antioxidants to alleviate oxidative stress and its resultant diseases is strong enough to counteract some of the negative effects associated with the worst of diets.
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