Pregnant women on junk food diets risk junk food addict babiesPregnant women are being warned to drop the bag of potato chips and slice of pizza following the results of a new study suggesting that a fatty, sugary diet may make your child a junk food addict as well.

Published in the March issue of The FASEB Journal, researchers from the University of Adelaide in Australia say their study provides further proof that pregnant women need to be particularly careful of their diet.

For their research, scientists studied pups born to two groups of female rats: the first was fed normal rat feed, while the other was fed a range of human junk foods during pregnancy and lactation.

After the pups were weaned, both groups of baby rats were given daily injections of an opioid receptor blocker.

Opioids are released upon consumption of high-fat and sugary foods.

In theory, blocking opioid signaling was supposed to reduce the rats’ intake of fat and sugar by preventing the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that controls the brain’s reward and pleasure centers.

In their experiment, however, scientists found that the receptor blocker was less effective at reducing the fat and sugar intake in the pups whose mothers were fed junk food.

The suggestion? Babies born with a higher tolerance to junk food need to consume more junk foods to achieve the “feel good” response.

Meanwhile, another study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that the best way for mothers to develop healthy eating habits in their kids — particularly in low-income households — is to empty the pantry of junk foods and lead by example rather than restricting their kids’ eating.