Fat Father = Diabetic Daughter
And in case you didn’t know, impaired glucose tolerance and insulin secretion leads to Type 2 diabetes.
Australian researchers fed some male rats a high-fat diet and kept others on a healthy diet. Both groups of rats mated with females, all of whom ate a healthy diet.
A genetic analysis of the offspring revealed that 642 genes related to insulin and glucose metabolism were expressed differently in the daughters of overweight rats compared with the control rats. These so-called epigenetic changes affected the function of pancreatic cells that make insulin.
This is the first report in mammals of non-genetic, intergenerational transmission of metabolic sequelae of a HFD from father to offspring.
Conclusions & Questions
At first glance, this study seems to create a nice clear link between scientific research and common sense.
- An unhealthy / poorly fed animal is more likely to produce unhealthy offspring.
Makes sense to me.
However, I do have some questions.
- As this study involved rats, there is always to question of how this research would apply to human beings.
- What is the macronutrient/micronutrient breakdown of the “high fat” diet fed to the rats.
- Is it really a high carb/high fat diet?
- Is it loaded with vitamins, mineral, enzymes, etc?
- How closely does it represent the Standard American Diet that I assume the researchers were attempting to replicate?
- Were calories controlled or could the rat daddies eat as much as they wanted?
- Is the epigentic effect short term or long term?
- If I eat an entire Double Down sandwich while trying to impregnate my wife, will my daughters become diabetic?
Either way you look at it, this is a pretty interesting study which suggests an epigenitc link between a parent’s lifestyle and the health of their offspring.