Stop us if this sounds familiar: when you were pregnant and found yourself eating a lot of stuff, you vowed to eat healthier once you gave birth. But once you had your bouncing baby girl or boy, you found yourself not only failing to shed the preggy pounds, but possibly even piling on some new ones.

This happens more often than you think, and researchers that failing to improve your diet after giving birth is actually quite typical. The study, which was published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Diabetics, examined information from another study that tracked the health of 2,000 young adults over a period of 20 years, reports. Researchers found that parents (both mommies and daddies) tend to eat more saturated fat than non-parents do.

But why are parents’ diets more unhealthy in this manner (it was the only difference noted by the researchers)? Lead study author Helena Laroche, MD, an assistant professor at the University of Iowa VA Medical Center’s Department of Internal Medicine, is quoted as saying, "Parents of younger children do tend to bring in more convenience foods into the home more often. That may account for the difference in saturated fat intake."

Researchers urge parents to be more conscious about their food choices so that their kids will do the same. Says Laroche, "The big takeaway from our study is that we really do want parents to be better role models for their children when it comes to healthy eating. Parenting is the great teachable moment when you can make sure the whole family eats well—because kids do want to eat what you eat. If they see you eat vegetables, they will want to do that, too. We need to take better advantage of our influence here."

Not sure which foods contain the saturated fat you may need to cut down on? According to an article on the Harvard School of Public Health website, “Pizza and cheese are the biggest food sources of saturated fat in the U.S. diet, and other dairy products and meat products are also are also major contributors. Keep in mind that all foods contain a mix of fats. Even ‘healthy’ foods like chicken, fish, nuts, and oils do contribute some saturated fat to the diet, though they are much lower in saturated fat than beef, cheese, and ice cream. And it would be a mistake to cut back on nuts, oils, and fish to minimize saturated fat.”

(Photo by Gilson Machado via

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