Study finds a good reason to stop drinking soda while breastfeeding

A new study has found a good reason to stop drinking sugary drinks like soda and fruit juice while breastfeeding, warning that a high-sugar diet in the months immediately following pregnancy may cause cognitive development delays in offspring. The research comes from Children's Hospital Los Angeles and involved 88 participants who said they drank sugary beverages every day during the first month of nursing their newborns.

Many beverages ranging from sweetened coffee to soda, common fruit juices, and more contain large quantities of sugar and may, for some people, be the primary source of refined sugar in their diet. It's no secret that high levels of sugar have been linked to a huge variety of health issues, the most extreme being the development of type-2 diabetes and all of its related complications.

According to the new study, a high-sugar diet while breastfeeding may result in high levels of sugar in breastmilk, ultimately passing the sugar on to the newborn. Using a test to assess development, the researchers found that two-year-old toddlers whose mothers who drank sugary beverages daily while breastfeeding experienced poor cognitive development compared to children whose mothers reported drinking fewer sugary beverages.

The link between the two indicates that higher amounts of sugar passed from the mother to their offspring may have a negative impact on the baby's developing brain, setting them back compared to peers who weren't exposed to such high sugar levels. Reducing the amount of sugar in one's diet and eating a healthy array of foods recommended by health experts to breastfeeding mothers may help protect against this unwanted outcome.

The study's first author Paige K. Berger, Ph.D., explained:

Ultimately, we want babies to receive the best quality nutrition. Our findings may be used to guide future nutrition recommendations for moms during breastfeeding, to better ensure that babies are getting the right building blocks for cognitive development.