Beware Ladies! Vegetarian Diet During Pregnancy May Drive Your Kids to Drugs

Are you expecting and sticking to vegan food? If yes, chances are high your kids will develop substance abuse problems as adolescents and adults, warns a new study. The study actually links vegetarian diet in pregnancy to substance misuse in offspring.

The study, carried out by British scientists in cooperation with the US colleagues, suggests that mommies-to-be who eat vegetarian diet and abstain from all animal products are more likely to have kids who abuse alcohol, cannabis and other substance during adolescence.

In order to determine a correlation between a mom’s vegetarian diet during pregnancy and her offspring’s risk of misusing substances as teens, a team of scientists from the University of Bristol in the UK, along with the experts from the US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in Rockville, University of Illinois at Chicago and University of California, San Diego, looked at eating habits of 5,109 women and tracked what happened to almost 15,000 babies born to these women.

The study lasting 16 years revealed that 5,246 children with a median age of 15.5 years of moms who ate less red meat, poultry and meat products or no meat at all during their pregnancies were more likely to misuse alcohol, cannabis and cigarette than the children of moms who ate most meat in pregnancy.

The researchers said: “This study identifies low meat consumption in the prenatal period as [a] potentially modifiable risk factor for adolescent substance use.”

The scientists speculate this could be due to vitamin B12 deficiency, which often occurs in women who don’t eat meat while pregnant as this vital nutrient is mainly derived from meats and shellfish and important for brain development.

“Among Western populations infants of vitamin B12 deficient mothers have poor brain growth, developmental regression, irritability, thrive poorly and demonstrate residual deficits in cognitive and social development,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Joseph Hibbeln.

However, he affirmed the study doesn’t mean that vegetarian moms need to start consuming meat, poultry and other meat products during their pregnancies. Instead, he told ScienceDaily: “Our study points to the need to investigate potential health impacts, and solutions, for some women who choose to restrict certain food categories during pregnancy.”

“It is already recommended that vegetarian and vegan mums-to-be take special care to ensure they get enough of certain nutrients that are found in meat and fish, such as vitamin B12, vitamin D and iron,” added the NHS.

Findings of the study published this month in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.