Processed Foods Containing Fructose When Pregnant Is Bad News For You and Baby

Healthy Living

June 19, 2016

What Is Fructose

Diabetes has been termed an epidemic in the United States and other countries worldwide; the consumption of too much fructose has been linked to obesity and diabetes. But according to a new study that was published in the journal Scientific Reports for pregnant women there is the additional danger that it could also cause placental and fetal defects that could have lifelong negative health affects on the child.

Fructose (sugar) is found in foods, fruits, veggies, honey, and dairy products naturally and unless you are eating too much of these daily, natural fructose is part of a healthy diet. The problem with fructose in recent years is that food manufacturers combine fructose and glucose creating high-fructose corn syrup sweeteners (HFCS) that they add to processed foods to make them taste better. These processed high-fructose foods and drinks are believed to be the cause of the out of control rates of diabetes we now see in adults and children.

The senior author of the study Dr. Kelle H. Moley, from the Washington University School of Medicine of St. Louis, MO. is quoted as saying, “Since the early 1970s, we’ve been eating more fructose than we should. It is becoming increasingly critical to understand how fructose consumption is impacting human health.” The doctor and her co-researchers acknowledged that previous studies have shown the connection between high-fructose sweeteners and obesity and Type-2 diabetes, but wanted to understand how high fructose consumption affected pregnant women and their children before and after birth.

How The Study Was Conducted

Dr. Moley and her team of researchers wanted to compare a high-fructose diet to that of a standard healthy diet, to do this the team fed pregnant mice a high-fructose diet or standard chow and then evaluated the results the diet had on the pregnant mice and their offspring.

The study showed that the pregnant mice fed a high-fructose diet had significant higher levels of triglycerides and uric acid than those of the mice that were fed standard chow. It was also observed that the mice fed the high-fructose diet had larger placentas and smaller fetuses than the mice fed standard chow.

Additionally, after birth Dr. Moley noted that the babies that were smaller in utero were more apt to experience rapid growth after birth than the mice that were of normal size as fetuses. Dr. Moley said, “The body tries to compensate for the small growth in utero. These babies can become kids and then adults struggling with obesity and other health problems.”

As for the impact on the pregnant mice, increased triglycerides and uric acid can increase the mother’s risks for preeclampsia and gestational diabetes, which can cause serious complications during pregnancy.

The next step in the study was to ascertain whether the study of the pregnant mice had any correlation to pregnant women. The research team then set out to study the fructose consumption of 18 pregnant women who were scheduled for cesarean delivery.

Dr. Moley and her research team discovered that the mothers who had consumed high fructose foods and drinks during their pregnancy had the same outcomes as did the pregnant mice that had been given the high fructose diet, increased triglyceride levels and uric acid elevations.


Dr. Moley and her research team were able to conclude that pregnant women who exceed the recommended levels of fructose in their daily diets can expect to experience the same complications that was seen in the study mice, that being increased risk of preeclampsia and gestational diabetes, larger placentas and lower birth size in infants and increased risk of obesity and Type-2 diabetes for both mother and child.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that adults in the United States should get 5 to 15 percent of their daily caloric intake from solid fats and added sugars, but say that  adult Americans are getting as much as 13 percent daily from added sugars alone. Avoiding processed foods is the easiest way to reduce your fructose intake.

Dr. Moley points out strenuously that eating natural foods (not processed) that do not contain added sugars (high fructose additives) is the best way to ensure a healthy pregnancy and normal birth size for your child and thus reduce the risk of obesity and diabetes in the child’s future.