Pregnant mothers have one thing in common: zero energy. Which is why a lot
of us reach for a syrupy, fizzy, caffeine-rich soda to get through the day. (Is there anything more exciting than the sound of a soda cracking open?)
Sure, it's no secret that sugary drinks are hard on our bodies.
They are filled with calories and are a primary cause of obesity amongst
children and adults in America.
And now we know that they're also bad for embryos and fetuses. Really.
A new study,
published in Pediatrics, found that sugary beverages during
pregnancy are linked to weight gain for kids later in life. The findings are part of a larger scope that examines the
impact of pregnant moms’ diets on their kids’ health.
“We know that what mothers
eat during pregnancy may affect their children’s health and later obesity,”
says biostatistician Sheryl Rifas-Shiman of Harvard Medical School and Harvard
Pilgrim Health Care Institute in Boston. “We decided to look at sugar-sweetened
beverages as one of these factors.”
what they found: The more sugary beverages a mom drank during mid-pregnancy,
the heavier her kids were in elementary school.
Awesome. We can’t enjoy a glass of wine over dinner. We
can’t climb Mount Everest. And now, we can't chug a cold Dr. Pepper Big Gulp.
As part of the study, moms were asked to complete a
questionnaire during the first and second trimesters of pregnancy. The
survey took into account what they were drinking—soda, fruit drinks, 100
percent fruit juice, diet soda or water—and how often. Serving size was defined
as a can, glass or bottle of a beverage.
When the children were in elementary school, researchers
revisited them to assess their body mass index and measure for obesity. Compared
with those children whose mothers consumed less sugary drinks, boys and girls of
sugar lovin’ moms weighed about half a pound more by the time they were in the
Of the 1,078 kids involved in the study, 25 percent—those
with moms who drank at least two servings of sugar-sweetened beverages per day
during the second trimester—were considered overweight or obese based on their
How is it even possible to have such a profound effect?
“What happens in early development really has a long-term
impact,” Meghan Azad, an epidemiologist at the University of Manitoba in
Canada, said. "A fetus’s metabolism develops in response to the surrounding
environment, including the maternal diet."
However, scientists aren't 100 percent certain if moms'
soda addiction is a direct cause of weight gain for her kids later in life
(suprise!). I mean, presumably she's not stopping her soda drinking after she gives birth, so is this more a lifestyle question than actual biology?
Whatever the case, it's probably not a bad idea to go ahead and limit soda
intake during pregnancy and stick to drinking one of nature's finest delicacies, good ol' H2O.