A new study found that mothers consuming high amounts of sugar and sugar substitutes during pregnancy, or high sugar consumption during early childhood, was associated with compromised learning and memory skills in children. Alternately, high fruit consumption was found to have the opposite effect.
In a new study published online Thursday in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers analyzed data from more than 1,000 pregnant women from 1999 to 2002 who participated in Project Viva, a longitudinal research study of women and children. In addition, the team also assessed the diets of the women’s subsequent offspring, and their cognition at age three and again at age seven.
Results revealed that poorer childhood cognitive skills were associated with mothers who consumed high sugar diets during their pregnancy or in children who consumed greater amounts of sugar during early life.
These cognitive deficits were most noted in non-verbal abilities to solve problems and verbal memory, as well as decreased intelligence.