Poor Fetal, Maternal Outcomes Linked to Fructose

Poor Fetal, Maternal Outcomes Linked to Fructose Poor Fetal, Maternal Outcomes Linked to Fructose

Consuming too much fructose has previously been linked to diabetes and obesity, but for expectant mothers, it could also lead to placental and fetal defects, according to a new study published in the journal Scientific Reports. However, the study reveals that a drug currently used to treat gout and kidney stones may offset such problems.

Fructose is a form of sugar naturally found in fruits, honey, and some vegetables.

It is commonly used by food manufacturers, who combine fructose with glucose to create high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which is often added to foods and beverages to sweeten them.

Senior study author Dr. Kelle H. Moley, of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO, and colleagues point out that there has been a significant increase in consumption of sugar and HFCS in recent years, reported.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults in the United States currently get around 13% of their daily calorie intake from added sugars - including HFCS - which is significantly more than the recommended 5-10%.

“Since the early 1970s, we’ve been eating more fructose than we should,” says Moley. “It is becoming increasingly critical to understand how fructose consumption is impacting human health.”

In their study, researchers found that mice fed a high-fructose diet during pregnancy had higher levels of triglycerides and uric acid than those fed standard chow. Additionally, they had smaller fetuses and larger placentas.

Moley notes that after birth, a baby that was smaller in the womb is likely to experience increased growth, compared with a baby that was a normal-sized fetus.

“The body tries to compensate for the small growth in utero,” she explains. “These babies can become kids and then adults struggling with obesity and other health problems.”

Furthermore, increased uric acid and triglyceride levels may raise a mother’s risk of pregnancy complications, such as preeclampsia and gestational diabetes, according to the team.

They analyzed the fructose intake of 18 pregnant women who had scheduled cesarean sections, finding that those who consumed high fructose during pregnancy experienced similar effects to pregnant mice fed a high-fructose diet, including increased uric acid levels.

“The negative effect of excess fructose in humans is likely to lead to an exacerbation of the problems seen in the mice,” says Moley, stressing that eating natural foods during pregnancy - rather than processed foods that are likely to contain fructose - remains the best way to reduce the risk of poor maternal and fetal outcomes.