Student NameAusten Hentschel
Faculty Mentor NameDr. Dominick Lemas
CollegeCollege of Medicine
MajorNutritional Sciences (Pre-med)
MinorHealth Promotion
Research InterestsThe role of nutrition in the prevention of disease, maternal-fetal health
OrganizationsUF RecSports CHANGES Coach
Hobbies and InterestsYoga, Orange Theory, Going to the beach with friends, listening to the latest The Doctor's Farmacy Podcast, trying new vegan restaurants

Research Project

The effects of added sugar intake during pregnancy on human milk composition and infant health outcomes during the first year of life

Human milk is the optimal source of nutrition for infants during the first year of life. Current literature demonstrates maternal diet plays an active role in human milk composition. However, the impact of maternal added sugar intake on human milk composition and infant health outcomes is limited. Notably, added sugar intake represents 14.8% of calories among pregnant women in the US and excessive dietary added sugars is associated with visceral adiposity. Therefore, careful consideration of maternal dietary added sugars on exclusively breastfed infants is needed to examine whether exposure has obesogenic effects.

The objective of my research project is to characterize maternal added sugar intake during pregnancy on human milk composition and infant adiposity during the first year of life. Data that is specific to my project will include maternal self-reported 3-day diet records at 3rd Trimester, human milk samples collected at 2-weeks and 2-months post-partum, and infant BMI collect at various time points during the first year of life. For the purposes of this project “added sugars” will be defined as sugars added during the preparation or packaging of foods and does not include natural occurring sugars present in fruits and milk.