Many members of the Church interpret the Word of Wisdom’s prohibitions on tea and coffee as a hint that caffeine itself should be treated cautiously. But many feel that drinking caffeinated soft drinks is OK and the Church does not require people to avoid them. While there’s a lot of evidence that soft drinks of any kind aren’t the best thing for your health, one interesting aspect of caffeine itself that many people might not know about is its potentially harmful effect on unborn children.
See Ellis Voerman, Vincent W.V. Jaddoe, and Olta Gishti, “Maternal caffeine intake during pregnancy, early growth and body fat distribution at school-age. The Generation R Study,“ Obesity (Silver Spring), 24/5 (May 2016): 1170–1177; doi: 10.1002/oby.21466. Here is the abstract:
We examined the associations of maternal caffeine intake during pregnancy with offspring growth patterns, and body fat and insulin levels at school-age.
In a population-based birth cohort among 7,857 mothers and their children, we assessed maternal caffeine intake during pregnancy by questionnaires. Growth characteristics were measured from birth onwards. At 6 years, body fat and insulin levels were measured.
Compared to children whose mothers consumed <2 units of caffeine per day during pregnancy (1 unit of caffeine is equivalent to 1 cup of coffee (90 mg caffeine)), those whose mothers consumed ≥6 units of caffeine per day tended to have a lower weight at birth, higher weight gain from birth to 6 years and higher body mass index from 6 months to 6 years. Both children whose mothers consumed 4-5.9 and ≥6 units of caffeine per day during pregnancy tended to have a higher childhood body mass index and total body fat mass. Only children whose mothers consumed ≥6 units of caffeine per day had a higher android/gynoid fat mass ratio.
Our results suggest that high levels of maternal caffeine intake during pregnancy are associated with adverse offspring growth patterns and childhood body fat distribution.
This is one of several studies suggesting that expecting mothers should be careful about caffeine. Good to know.