Maternal diet has the potential to affect human milk (HM) composition, but very few studies have directly assessed the effect of maternal diets on HM composition. The primary aim of this study was to assess the effect of improving dietary quality in lactating women over 2 weeks on the concentrations of macronutrients and metabolic hormones in HM. The secondary aims were to assess the impact of the dietary intervention on 24 h milk production, maternal body composition and infant growth. Fifteen women completed a 1-week baseline period followed by a 2-week dietary intervention phase targeted towards reducing fat and sugar intake. Maternal anthropometric and body composition and infant growth measurements were performed weekly. Total 24 h milk production was measured before and after the dietary intervention, and HM samples were collected daily. Maternal intakes of energy (−33%), carbohydrate (−22%), sugar (−29%), fat (−54%) and saturated fat (−63%) were significantly reduced during the dietary intervention. HM insulin, leptin and adiponectin concentrations were 10–25% lower at the end of the dietary intervention, but HM concentrations of macronutrients were unaffected. Maternal body weight (−1.8%) and fat mass (−6.3%) were significantly reduced at the end of the dietary intervention, but there were no effects on 24 h milk production or infant growth. These results suggest that reducing maternal energy, carbohydrate, fat and sugar intake over a 2-week period is associated with significant reductions in HM insulin, leptin and adiponectin concentrations. These changes may be secondary to decreases in maternal weight and fat mass. The limited studies to date that have investigated the association between metabolic hormone concentrations in HM and infant growth raise the possibility that the changes in HM composition observed in the current study could impact infant growth and adiposity, but further studies are required to confirm this hypothesis.
|Publication status||Published - Jun 2021|