Father’s diet may influence child’s metabolic function and diabetes risk

A father’s diet may have a significant impact on their child’s ability to metabolize fats, and therefore their risk for obesity and type 2 diabetes, according to a new study from University of Massachusetts Medical School researchers.

The findings, which were reported in the journal Cell, indicate that there may be a genetic underpinning for much of an individual’s metabolic function. While this idea is not necessarily revolutionary on its own, the fact that a father’s diet can affect this information in his offspring is new.

For the study, researchers fed one group of male mice a low-protein diet. Genetic testing on the offspring of these mice showed that they had many alterations in genes associated with metabolism compared to offspring of normally fed mice.

"Together, these results suggest rethinking basic practices in epidemiological studies of complex diseases such as diabetes," the researchers wrote in their report.

The report goes on to indicate that previous human studies show that grandchildren are more affected by their grandparents’ diets than they are by their parents’. The researchers would like to see more specific human studies to help fully answer this question.
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