High-sugar diet during lactation affects infant cognition but it is not a decisive factor

  A research report published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition not long ago showed that a mother's intake of high-sugar beverages during lactation can impair the child's early cognitive development.

  Previously, the research team found that women who drink more high-sugar beverages after childbirth not only increase their own risk of obesity, but may also make newborns consume too much sugar through breast milk.

This time, the research team explored the relationship between mothers' high-sugar diet and children's cognition, and the results showed that the more sugary drinks the mother consumed during lactation, the lower the children's cognitive ability scores at the age of two.

  In response, a reporter from Science and Technology Daily interviewed Han Tongyan, chief physician of Pediatrics Department of Peking University Third Hospital.

She believes that this article has certain scientific value, but it is not a large sample, particularly rigorously designed article that has absolute guiding significance for the nutritional diet of women during lactation in the future.

"Infant's cognitive ability development is affected by many factors, mainly depending on the family's parenting style and eating habits. The fructose content in breast milk is only a single factor." She said.

  The parenting environment has an impact on children's cognitive level

  Researchers speculate that the reason why a high-sugar diet during lactation affects children’s cognition “may be because the mother’s excessive intake of sugar during lactation enters the child’s body through breast milk, and that too much sugar may affect the child’s brain development.”

  Han Tongyan pointed out that excessive intake of fruit juice and sweets not only affects children's respiratory resistance, but also affects children's cognitive development, which has become a general consensus.

Therefore, domestic and foreign nutrition guidelines require the control of children's juice or sweets intake.

  In this study, the research team asked 88 women to fill in their food diaries at the 24th hour, 1st month and 6th month of breastfeeding, and analyzed the sugar content of the juice drinks in the mothers’ diet. Use the Bailey Infant Development Scale to assess the cognitive development level of children at the age of two to draw conclusions.

  The "Bailey Infant Development Scale" is a relatively comprehensive and objective evaluation of cognitive ability.

Han Tongyan introduced that cognitive ability is the sum of factors related to nerves, psychology, behavior, and speech. Children's cognitive ability focuses on different points in each stage of growth.

This study evaluated the cognitive abilities of 2-year-old children. This period is mainly manifested in the aspects of large motor, fine motor, and social communication skills.

  Among the 88 mothers who were divided into normal group, obese group and overweight group according to their pre-pregnancy weight, overweight children consumed slightly more calories than children in the normal group, and their sugar intake was significantly higher.

These children with a high-sugar diet have relatively low cognitive scores at the age of two.

  "The results of this study are consistent with our previous general knowledge." Han Tongyan said that the article proposed through a small sample scientific experiment that if mothers who are obese and love sweets and drink fruit juices, if they maintain this eating habit during pregnancy and lactation, it will lead to The child's cognitive ability and cognitive score are relatively low.

"However, the article did not dig into the deep social and psychological reasons."

  Han Tongyan analyzed that cognitive development in infancy is affected by many factors, not just by fructose in breast milk.

"Children under the age of two develop their own eating habits, exercise habits and corresponding physique under the influence of the family environment. These factors are related to the development of cognitive ability. Taking eating habits as an example, obesity and overweight Mothers are more fond of sweets or high-sugar beverages. The characteristics of these people are that they are more irritable and tend to use sweets to calm their moods. Children are also more likely to be affected by the mother’s emotions, which affects their cognitive abilities."

  Healthy and balanced eating habits should run through the breastfeeding period

  Is the impact of lactation high-sugar diet on children's cognition long-term or short-term, can it be remedied?

  "The children in this batch of research experiments have a slightly lower cognitive score at the age of two, but they can also rely on other comprehensive factors to remedy them later." Han Tongyan explained that the mother's intake of high-sugar beverages is a single factor that affects the children's cognitive ability. In the long run, the child's parenting environment is more critical to the improvement of cognitive ability, including family parenting methods, parent-child emotional exchanges, and later physical training for children.

"The best way is to carry out predictive prevention. Mothers follow a scientific and healthy diet plan from pregnancy, and raise their children with a positive, optimistic, and peaceful attitude in the process of parenting. In addition, they are paying attention to their physical growth. At the same time of development, through planned nutrition programs, targeted exercises, a relaxed and happy family environment, and the cultivation of healthy daily habits for children, can we nurture children who are physically, mentally and mentally healthy." Han Yantong said.

  "In fact, the breastfeeding mother's diet directly affects the nutritional content, nutritional value and even the quality of breastmilk." Han Tongyan suggested that a healthy and balanced diet should run through the entire lactation period, so that the child's nutrition intake through breast milk will be relatively balanced.

  Not only that, the mother's eating habits will also affect the changes in the child's taste and future dietary orientation. Moms who love tomatoes during pregnancy or lactation will also prefer tomatoes after their children are born.

What’s more surprising is that the food that the mother eats will cause subtle changes in the taste of breast milk. The mother likes to eat spicy food. The spicy ingredients in the food are passed on to the child through breast milk. In addition, the addition of complementary foods to the child and the influence of family eating habits. In the future, children may also tend to prefer spicy food.

  "Children come into contact with the various tastes of the mother’s intake of food from breast milk, and form eating habits similar to those of their mothers during the process of breast milk. Therefore, only the mother’s healthy eating habits can keep the child in a relatively healthy eating environment. Only in children can form healthy eating habits.” Han Tongyan said.