Consumption of sucrose, but not high fructose corn syrup, leads to increased adiposity and dyslipidaemia in the pregnant and lactating rat

C. R. Toop, B. S. Muhlhausler, K. O'dea, S. Gentili

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Excess consumption of added sugars, including sucrose and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS-55), have been implicated in the global epidemics of obesity and type 2 diabetes. This study aimed to investigate and compare the impact of maternal consumption of sucrose or HFCS-55 during pregnancy and lactation on the metabolic health of the dam and her offspring at birth. Female Albino Wistar rats were given access to chow and water, in addition to a sucrose or HFCS-55 beverage (10% w/v) before, and during pregnancy and lactation. Maternal glucose tolerance was determined throughout the study, and a postmortem was conducted on dams following lactation, and on offspring within 24 h of birth. Sucrose and HFCS-55 consumption resulted in increased total energy intake compared with controls, however the increase from sucrose consumption was accompanied by a compensatory decrease in chow consumption. There was no effect of sucrose or HFCS-55 consumption on body weight, however sucrose consumption resulted in increased adiposity and elevated total plasma cholesterol in the dam, while HFCS-55 consumption resulted in increased plasma insulin and decreased plasma non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA). Maternal HFCS-55 consumption was associated with decreased relative liver weight and plasma NEFA in the offspring at birth. There was no effect of either treatment on pup weight at birth. These findings suggest that both sucrose and HFCS-55 consumption during pregnancy and lactation have the potential to impact negatively on maternal metabolic health, which may have adverse consequences for the long-term health of the offspring.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-46
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 13 Oct 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • adipose tissue
  • high fructose corn syrup
  • lactation
  • pregnancy
  • sucrose

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

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