Earlier research on an isolated community in Sweden, known as the Överkalix Cohort Study, found that poor nutrition during a paternal grandfather’s adolescence increased his grandchild’s risk of diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease. But since that study was using a real-world human population, there were too many social and economic variables to make any firm conclusions.
To focus on the effects of paternal diet alone, the researchers controlled the diets of two groups of mice. The males in one were fed a normal diet. The second group of males received protein-poor food. The females of both groups ate a normal diet.
Lead researcher Oliver Rando and colleagues observed that offspring of male mice fed a low-protein diet showed a marked difference in the activity of genes responsible for fatty chemical formation. Lipid and cholesterol formation increased as compared to offspring of the control group fed the standard diet.