Some children may benefit from a diabetic diet early in life to help prevent type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes has been called adult-onset diabetes due to the fact that many people develop the condition after they reach adulthood. However, recent data show that the condition has become increasingly common among young Americans.

According to a study published in the Journal of Physiology, one reason for this may be that women who eat unhealthy diets during pregnancy predispose their children to type 2 diabetes.

The study's results showed that even if a mother is not overweight and non-insulin resistant, her offspring may experience genetic changes caused by an unhealthy diet in utero that increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

"We found that exposure to a high-fat diet before birth modifies gene expression in the livers of offspring so they are more likely to overproduce glucose, which can cause early insulin resistance and diabetes," said lead researcher Yuan-Xiang Pan.

The investigators said that their findings indicate a need for more women to learn about the importance of a nutritious diet in addition to maintaining a healthy weight throughout pregnancy.

They also noted that in the future, some newborns may be screened for the genetic mutations that signal that they are at risk for type 2 diabetes. If the results are positive, mothers may reduce the odds that their child will develop the disease by providing them with a diabetic diet.

Entire families can adopt a diabetic diet to promote good nutrition and balanced eating.

According to the American Diabetes Association, individuals who have a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes can use meal planning tools, such as the plate method - in which people carefully portion their fats, carbohydrates and vegetables at each meal - carbohydrate counting or the glycemic index to avoid high blood sugar levels.

The glycemic index measures how carbohydrate-containing foods raise blood glucose, the source explains.