How Eating Eating at an Early Age Helps Later Reproduction-ScienceDaily

A new study from the University of East Anglia shows that switching from a restricted diet to eating as much as you like may be beneficial for reproduction later in life.

Researchers studied the diet and mating habits of small fruit flies Drosophila melanogaster.

They found that women who consumed less food throughout their lives lived longer, but they did not breed as well as their better feeding counterparts.

However, those who switched from a restricted diet to an unlimited diet began to mate and breed more. These flies gave birth to three times as many offspring as flies raised on a restricted diet.

In the meantime, their survival was similar to that of a female who had eaten her whole life.

Dr. Zahida Sultanova, Principal Investigator, UEA’s Department of Life Sciences, said:

“We wanted to know what would happen if we ate a lot later in life after dietary restrictions early in life.”

The team investigated the effects of early childhood dietary restrictions on fruit fly survival, mating behavior, and reproduction.

Some were given adequate food, while others were on a diet restricted to only 40 percent of normal yeast intake.

The third group was allowed to eat a restricted diet at an early age and then as much as they wanted.

Dr. Sultanova said: “Dietary restrictions are generally associated with improved health and reduced reproduction.

“But when our flies switched from a restricted diet to a regular diet, they began to mate and breed more, but their survival was similar to that of fully fed females. became.

“These results of fruit flies show that females rarely breed while they eat very little, but that they maintain reproductive health and that when they eat unlimited food in later years, they quickly start breeding more. ..

“This shows that the decline in reproduction due to reduced diet in early childhood can be completely compensated for by switching to a rich diet in later years.

“There are few studies on human dietary restrictions and reproductive health, mainly because of the ethical and logistical limitations of these types of studies.

“But the results of studies in model organisms suggest that it is worth investigating further using an approach that is more suitable for humans.”

This research was funded by the Biotechnology and Bioscience Research Council (BBSRC), the European Research Council (ERC), and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

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