- A father's diet & nutrition may be associated with the baby's health
- Study was published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B
- Study suggests that men should have a low carb and high protein diet
Michal Polak, a Professor at University of Cincinnati in the United States, explains, "In many species, the moms do a lot of the care. So we expect there to be an effect from maternal diet on offspring because of that strong link. But it was a real surprise to find a link between paternal diet and offspring."
The researchers carried out their study using an animal model. They manipulated the nutrition of male fruit flies and observed a strong correlation between poor diet and poor survivorship among their offspring. Scientists chose to use fruit flies as they share about 60 per cent of human genes and more than 75 per cent of human disease genes.
For the study, the team isolated females and males of the fruit fly species Drosophila melanogaster, which is famous for its enormous red eyes and high reproductive capacity. The researchers fed females the same diet but they fed males 30 different diets of yeast and sugars.
The flies could eat all they wanted to from the agar mixture in the bottom of their glass beaker homes, but the quality of the food varied dramatically from low to high concentrations of proteins, carbohydrates and calories..
After 17 days of being on a the strict diet, the males were mated individually and consecutively with two females, which all received the same diet. The researchers found that the embryos from the second mating were more likely to survive as their fathers' diets were healthier.
These health effects were less apparent in the first mating. Likewise, embryo mortality was highest for offspring of males that fed on a high-carbohydrate, low-protein diet.The study also discovered a slightly higher incidence of embryo mortality associated with male flies in the first mating that were fed a diet that had the highest calories.
Inputs from IANS