(NaturalNews) Guys, if you’re over 50 and a grandfather, you may want to take up an exercise regimen and cut out the lousy food – and ask your sons to do the same thing for the grandchildren they’ll have someday. That’s because a new study has found that grandfathers who are overweight can pass a host of health problems down to their progeny.
As reported by the UK’s Daily Mail, the study found that a man’s metabolic health can be transferred down through generations, passed along to his kids and even his grandchildren.
Grandchildren of men whose diets are high in sugar, junk foods and fats are much more likely to develop medical problems associated with those foods, including higher blood sugars, diabetes and fatty liver disease. This is the case even if their own fathers ate healthy, organic diets when they were conceiving, researchers noted in the study.
Researchers at Victor Chang Institute and Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney conducted their study on male mice. At the time of conception, they discovered, they were putting their offspring and their offspring at higher risk of developing a metabolic disease before they were actually born.
“A baby’s health has long been considered the mother’s responsibility as soon as she falls pregnant,” Dr. Catherine Suter, associate professor at the Victor Chang Institute, said. “But little attention has been paid to how a father’s health might impact his unborn child.”
Scientists discovered that the grandsons of fat mice were more prone to metabolic disorders like those mentioned above, even if their own fathers were eating well-balanced meals when they were born. That said, when fathers ate well, their grandchildren’s metabolic health was significantly better, the researchers said.
“Now, we’ve found powerful evidence, in a mouse model, that dad’s nutrition and metabolic health can influence his sons, and even his grandsons,” said Suter. “We were shocked when we saw the results, which were absolutely black and white.”
Continuing, she noted that grandchildren were at a much higher risk of becoming ill if they consumed a “junk food diet” even if their fathers had much better, healthier eating habits.
“The effects of the diet on offspring are dramatic, even when they eat poorly just for a short time, all because their grandfather was obese,” she said.
Prof. Mark Febbraio, from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, is urging others to take into consideration the lasting effects of a poor diet on their progeny. “It’s important we inform people of the implications of this study and possible risks so they can start making lifestyle changes now,” he told the Daily Mail. “If your father or grandfather was overweight or obese, you might need to be particularly careful about what you choose to eat.”
The research team added that they were not completely certain how the “multigenerational programming” works, but they intend to conduct more research, examining the sperm of mice when hunting for clues.
No time like the present to change dieting habits
There is some good news from the study as well: By the third generation, the mice did not develop all of the health problems after eating a diet of junk food – though if that generation became obese that likely would start the cycle all over again.
“What this shows is it’s possible to break that cycle of metabolic disease,” Febbraio said, adding that the researchers now believe that being predisposed to sickness related to poor dieting is an acquired, not genetic, occurrence.
That means, he said, that damage can be undone and ultimately will be reversible – good news for medical policy planners.
In the meantime guys, there is no time like the present to change your dieting habits and include some superfoods that could help reduce future health risks for your kids and grand kids.