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It is known that pregnant women should pay attention to a healthy diet. Greek scientists are now warning that pregnant women should not eat too much fish. This causes children to grow quickly in the first two years of life, but later develop an increased risk of being overweight and obese.
Pregnant women consume the strangest combinations of foods, such as sour cucumbers with cream. But not such unusual combinations can harm the child, but an everyday food. Researchers from the "University of Crete" examined the eating habits of pregnant women and found that expectant mothers should not eat too much fish. Consuming too much fish increases the likelihood of children becoming overweight or developing obesity. The doctors published the results of their investigation in the specialist journal "JAMA Pediatrics".
Pregnant women should keep an eye on their fish consumption
When pregnant women eat fish three times a week, this food causes children to grow faster in the first two years of life. However, this diet also has disadvantages. Affected children are more likely to develop obesity later in life. The results are in line with the recommendations of the "Food and Drug Administration" and the "Environmental Protection Agency". Pregnant women should eat fish calmly, but not more than two to three servings a week, the experts explain. Fish contains vital nutrients for the development of fetuses and should therefore not be avoided by pregnant mothers. But pregnant women should keep an eye on the amount of fish consumed.
The effects of a lot of fish consumption affect girls more
Fish should be consumed by pregnant women at least once but less than three times a week. In this way, an increased risk of obesity or childhood obesity can be avoided, says study author Leda Chatzi from the "University of Crete". Chatzi and her co-authors analyzed the data from 26,184 pregnant women and their children in Belgium, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain and the United States. The researchers examined the children every two years, from birth to 6 years of age. If pregnant women consume fish more than three times a week, their children later have a higher BMI value at the ages of 2, 4 and 6 years, the scientists explain. Higher fish consumption during pregnancy was also associated with an increased risk of rapid growth in the first two years of life. The extent of the effect of fish consumption was greater in girls than in boys, the researchers say.
Fish contains organic pollutants that may support obesity
Previous studies focused on the neurocognitive damage that methylmercury can cause, but not the impact on growth, says Chatzi. Fish is usually an essential part of a healthy diet. However, it is a complex exposure, the doctor adds. On the one hand, fish is an important source of food for omega-3 fatty acids. These are transmitted across the placenta and reduce our fat deposits by reducing the production of fat cells, explains Chatzi. On the other hand, people ingest organic pollutants through fish, which contribute to the development of obesity. With higher fish consumption, the potential negative effects of pollutants could outweigh the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, the researcher suspects.
More precise data is needed to understand the effects of environmental pollutants
While the researchers had gathered a lot of information about the consumption of different types of fish, there is not enough collected data on the cooking process or water quality. This information would have given them the opportunity to take a closer look at the interplay of valuable nutrients and environmental pollutants. That is why our assumption that fish-associated exposure to pollutants plays a role in the observed effects is purely speculative, explains Chatzi. (As)