Hold the Chili Cheese Fries! A High Fat Diet = Birth Defects?

It turns out a high-fat diet may do more than just expand your waistline, it may also lead to more birth defects.

According to Reuters:

British researchers studying mice found that a pregnant mother's diet may interact with the genes her unborn baby inherits and influence the type or severity of birth defects such as congenital heart disease and cleft palate.

"These are very important findings as we have been able to show for the first time that gene-environment interactions can affect development of the embryo in the womb," said Jamie Bentham of the Wellcome Trust Center for Human Genetics at the Oxford University, who led the study.


This should not come as a surprise. We all know a high-fat diet is bad, but we can't stop eating this way even as it's killing us.

I wonder if a decade or so from now, eating high-fat foods during pregnancy will be viewed the way drinking or smoking during pregnancy is viewed.

Overall, of course, it's a good thing to realize that changing our diet may help our children live healthier lives and be healthier at birth. Of course, the real hurdle is being able to cut out (or cut down on) all the high-fat foods that are so very delicious.

After all, isn't pregnancy supposed to be the time we all stop caring about what we eat so we can actually enjoy food? In general I'm thin, but I gained 50 pounds during each pregnancy even though I ran throughout both because, well, let's just say I was intimately acquainted with both Ben and Jerry. It was a delicious nightly threesome we had going on. And even though I also eat very well -- plenty of vitamins and veggies -- I also know I ate my fair share of burgers and fries.

My bad.

I lost the baby weight and got back into my size fours, but maybe I should have been worried about more than that?

Do you think mothers-to-be should regulate what they eat?

Image via Brandi Jordan/Flickr

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