Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


High Protein, Low-Carb Diet During Pregnancy Improved Triglycerides, Fat Metabolism In Offspring


Diet found especially beneficial for female offspring

It has been estimated that up to 32 million Americans have adopted the low-carb style of eating, in part because of its quick and dramatic results. Converts often maintain components of low-carb eating long after they’ve officially finished dieting.

Not surprisingly, a growing number of pregnant women now explore ways to continue low-carb routines through gestation, in fact there are several chat rooms devoted to this topic. Though low-carbing during pregnancy has not been extensively researched, a new study points to some positive benefits for the adult offspring of low-carb dieters.

A team of U.K. scientists at the University of Southampton School of Medicine have found that female pups born to mice who were fed a diet high in unsaturated fat and protein, and low in carbohydrates (low-carb/high-fat) during pregnancy and lactation were likely to have lower liver triglyceride levels in adulthood than pups born to mice on the standard chow diet (high-carb/low-fat). The female low-carb/high-fat offspring also had higher amounts of proteins that aid fatty acid oxidation (fat burning) than did the standard diet pups. A similar trend was noted in the male low-carb/high-fat offspring, but the results were not as dramatic.

In humans, maintenance of low triglyceride levels and a good lipid (fat) metabolism is important as these factors can reduce the risk of developing coronary artery disease, a condition that affects millions and kills thousands of Americans each year.

Research highlights:

  • Mother mice were assigned either low-carb/high-fat or standard high-carb/low-fat diets approximately six weeks before impregnation. They remained on these diets through pregnancy and nursing.
  • The low-carb/high-fat mother mice ate approximately 21 percent less than the high-carb/low-fat mother mice did. The low-carb/high-fat mother mice consumed 57.5 percent fewer carbs, 153 percent more fat and 23 percent more protein than the mice on the standard diet.
  • The mothers on the low-carb/high-fat diet did not display differences in body weight in comparison to the standard diet mice.
  • All pups were weaned from breast milk onto the same standard high-carb diet into adulthood.
  • Importantly, the adult offspring of low-carb/high-fat mothers had reduced liver triglyceride concentration (less than half that of the pups born to mothers on the standard diet), despite being fed the same standard high-carb/low-fat diet post weaning. They also expressed significantly greater levels of the hepatic proteins CD36, CPT-1 and PPARá, which help with fatty acid oxidation.

The results of the study “A high unsaturated fat, high protein and low carbohydrate diet during pregnancy and lactation modulates hepatic lipid metabolism in female adult offspring” will appear as one of 20 research studies on fetal programming (how a mother’s actions affect her offspring) presented in the January 2005 edition of the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative, and Comparative Physiology.

The authors of the study are Junlong Zhang, Chunli Wang, and Christopher D. Byrne of the Endocrinology and Metabolism at the University of Southampton School of Medicine; and Paul L. Terroni, Felino R. A. Cagampang, and Mark Hanson of the Maternal, Fetal and Neonatal Physiology Sub-Division at the University of Southampton’s Princess Anne Hospital. All authors are in the University of Southampton’s Developmental Origins of Health and Disease Division (DOHaD). This work was supported by the Wellcome Trust, the British Heart Foundation, the DOHaD Center and the School of Medicine of the University of Southampton.


Whether a high unsaturated fat, high protein (HFP) and low carbohydrate (CHO) diet during gestation has long-lasting beneficial effects on lipid metabolism in the offspring was investigated using a mouse model. Female mice were fed either a standard (CHO-rich) chow diet or a low carbohydrate HFP diet, prior to and during gestation and lactation. All offspring were weaned onto the same chow until adulthood. Although liver cholesterol concentration and fasting plasma TG, cholesterol and free fatty acid concentrations were not affected in either male or female HFP offspring, hepatic triglyceride (TG) concentration was reduced by ~51% (p < 0.05) in the female adult offspring from dams on the HFP diet, compared to females from dams on the chow diet (a trend toward reduced TG concentration was also observed in the male). Furthermore, hepatic protein levels for CD36, carnitine palmitoyltransferase-1 (CPT-1) and peroxisomal proliferator activated receptor-á (PPARá) were increased by ~ 46% (p < 0.001), ~52% (p < 0.001) and ~14% (p = 0.035) respectively in the female HFP offspring. Liver TG levels were negatively correlated with protein levels of CD 36 (r = -0.69, p = 0.007), CTP-1 (r = -0.55, p = 0.033) and PPARá (r = -0.57, p = 0.025) in these offspring. In conclusion, a maternal HFP diet during gestation and lactation reduces hepatic TG concentration in female offspring, which is linked with increased protein levels in fatty acid oxidation.

Source: The article “A high unsaturated fat, high protein and low carbohydrate diet during pregnancy and lactation modulates hepatic lipid metabolism in female adult offspring” is online in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, and is scheduled to appear in the January 2005 issue, published by the American Physiological Society. A copy of the abstract is available to the public at

Stacy Brooks | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Advanced analysis of brain structure shape may track progression to Alzheimer's disease
26.10.2016 | Massachusetts General Hospital

nachricht Indian roadside refuse fires produce toxic rainbow
26.10.2016 | Duke University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Steering a fusion plasma toward stability

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Bioluminescent sensor causes brain cells to glow in the dark

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Activation of 2 genes linked to development of atherosclerosis

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>