Impact of Diet Composition in Adult Offspring is Dependent on Maternal Diet during Pregnancy and Lactation in Rats

Nutrients. 2016 Jan 14;8(1):46. doi: 10.3390/nu8010046.


The Thrifty Phenotype Hypothesis proposes that the fetus takes cues from the maternal environment to predict its postnatal environment. A mismatch between the predicted and actual environments precipitates an increased risk of chronic disease. Our objective was to determine if, following a high fat, high sucrose (HFS) diet challenge in adulthood, re-matching offspring to their maternal gestational diet would improve metabolic health more so than if there was no previous exposure to that diet. Animals re-matched to a high prebiotic fiber diet (HF) had lower body weight and adiposity than animals re-matched to a high protein (HP) or control (C) diet and also had increased levels of the satiety hormones GLP-1 and PYY (p < 0.05). Control animals, whether maintained throughout the study on AIN-93M, or continued on HFS rather than reverting back to AIN-93M, did not differ from each other in body weight or adiposity. Overall, the HF diet was associated with the most beneficial metabolic phenotype (body fat, glucose control, satiety hormones). The HP diet, as per our previous work, had detrimental effects on body weight and adiposity. Findings in control rats suggest that the obesogenic potential of the powdered AIN-93 diet warrants investigation.

Keywords: dietary protein; fetal programming; maternal diet; obesity; prebiotics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity / physiology
  • Animal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Animals
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Diet / adverse effects*
  • Diet / methods
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fats / adverse effects
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Proteins / adverse effects
  • Dietary Sucrose / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Sucrose / adverse effects
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology
  • Female
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / metabolism
  • Lactation
  • Male
  • Maternal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Peptide YY / metabolism
  • Prebiotics
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Satiety Response / physiology


  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Dietary Sucrose
  • Prebiotics
  • Peptide YY
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1