Having fish oil when pregnant doesn’t cut your kid’s obesity risk: Study
Today in New Delhi, India
Jan 18, 2019-Friday
New Delhi
  • Humidity
  • Wind

Having fish oil when pregnant doesn’t cut your kid’s obesity risk: Study

Fish oil may not be as good as once thought to be. This oil is a source of omega 3 fatty acids which is often thought to protect children from getting overweight. But as per a new study, fish oil doesn’t really cut obesity risk.

health and fitness Updated: Jun 29, 2016 12:37 IST
Fish oil,Pregnancy,Childhood obesity
The general consensus had been that “good” omega-3 fatty acids protects a child against becoming overweight. (Shutterstock)

Sorry mommies! Don’t always go by what the various studies tell you. Take fish oil for instance. Often seen as a source of ‘good fat’, reports now suggest it isn’t as good as it is made out to be.

Up to now, the general consensus had been that “bad” fats, especially omega-6 fatty acids, consumed during pregnancy increased the formation of infantile fat cells, while “good” omega-3 fatty acids protected the child against becoming overweight.

Since, in the animal model, an increased intake of omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy and lactation coupled with a simultaneous reduction in arachidonic acids resulted in offspring with a significantly lower tendency to become overweight, the INFAT human study was the first to investigate whether this result was translatable onto humans.

Read: Osteoarthritis can’t be cured with fish oil, vitamin D, says study

Professor Hans Hauner from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) said, “Translating the findings from animal trials onto the human organism is always a challenge. However, the prospects of this being applicable were extremely attractive: had it been confirmed, mothers would have been able to protect to ensure lifelong protection for their offspring against becoming overweight, or even obese, right from the very start.”

Often seen as a source of ‘good fat’, reports now suggest fish oil isn’t as good as it is made out to be. (Shutterstock)

Read: Debunked | Fish oil supplements don’t prevent mental decline

208 women with an average age of 32 years and a BMI of 22 took part in this study. While half of the study group continued with a normal diet, the other 104-women-strong group ate an omega-3 rich diet coupled with a significant reduction in meat consumption (contains omega-6 fatty acids) from the twelfth week of pregnancy to the fourth month of lactation. The children of the cohort mothers were examined once a year until the age of five, making the INFAT study, the first study to deliver valid data over such an extended period.

Read: Now knock off that stubborn belly fat with fish oil

This special diet had no effect on the weight of the babies and toddlers,” noted Hauner. This proves that the earlier findings are not translatable onto humans and that the hoped-for benefit of such a diet is questionable as it does not appear to prevent childhood obesity.

According to the study’s authors, it might, however, be possible that a mother’s diet during early pregnancy has other beneficial effects, which would have to be determined in further clinical studies.

The study appears in the journal American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

First Published: Jun 29, 2016 12:37 IST