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Maternal sugar-sweetened beverage, juice intake may impair infant cognitive development

29 Dec 2020

Fructose intake by mothers during early lactation can negatively impact infant neurodevelopmental outcomes at 24 postnatal months, and this is potentially caused by consumption of sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) and juice (J), suggests a study.

The authors recruited 88 Hispanic mother–infant pairs across the spectrum of prepregnancy body mass index (BMI). Mothers completed two 24-h dietary recalls at 1 and 6 postnatal months and reported breastfeeding per day. Infant cognition was assessed using the Bayley-III Scales of Infant Development administered at 24 postnatal months. Linear regressions were used to examine associations.

At 1 postnatal month, mothers consumed 1,656±470 kcal, 21.8±12 g fructose, and 2.5±2.6 servings of SSBs + J and reported 6.9±2.1 breastfeeding sessions per day. Infant cognitive development scores at 24 postnatal months were inversely associated with maternal fructose consumption at 1 postnatal month (B, –0.08, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], –0.13 to –0.03; p<0.01) after controlling for sex, infant age, maternal age, kcal, prepregnancy BMI, education level, and birthweight.

After adjustment for maternal SSB + J intake, the association of infant cognitive development scores with maternal fructose consumption was no longer significant (B, –0.05, 95 percent CI, –0.10 to 0.00; p=0.07), but maternal SSB + J intake was significant in the same model (B, –0.29, 95 percent CI, –0.52 to –0.05; p=0.02). Infant cognitive development scores did not correlate with maternal fructose and SSB + J intake at 6 postnatal months.

“Our prior studies revealed that infant somatic growth is influenced by fructose in breast milk, and fructose in breast milk is increased in response to maternal SSB intake in lactation,” the authors said.

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