Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Changes to Breast Milk Composition following Increased Maternal Sugar and Fat Consumption

Ward, Ellen; Yang, Ni; Muhlhausler, Beverly S.; Leghi, Gabriela E.; Netting, Merryn J.; Elmes, Matthew J.; Langley-Evans, Simon C.

Changes to Breast Milk Composition following Increased Maternal Sugar and Fat Consumption Thumbnail


Ellen Ward

Profile Image

Associate Professor

Beverly S. Muhlhausler

Gabriela E. Leghi

Merryn J. Netting

Matthew J. Elmes

Simon C. Langley-Evans


Human milk is influenced by maternal habitual diet, yet we do not fully understand the short-term effects of dietary variations on breast milk macronutrient concentrations. This study aimed to determine if increasing sugar and fat consumption would impact breast milk protein, lactose and lipids. Nine mothers who were exclusively breast-feeding consumed three diets; a control, a higher fat diet and a higher sugar diet at least 1 week apart. Breast milk samples were collected hourly and analysed for concentrations of protein, lactose, triglycerides and cholesterol. Breast milk triglycerides responded to both intervention diets with significantly higher concentrations in comparison to the control diet (p < 0.001). Cholesterol concentrations increased more in response to the higher sugar diet than the higher fat diet (p < 0.005). Lactose concentrations increased in response to the higher fat diet (p = 0.006), and protein decreased in response to the higher fat diet (p = 0.05). Variations in breast milk composition were observed over the day with triglyceride and cholesterol concentrations highest at the end of day (p < 0.001), and lactose and protein concentrations peaking at hour 10 (p < 0.001). Manipulating maternal consumption of fat and sugar impacted concentrations of human milk triglycerides, cholesterol, lactose and protein. Fluctuations were also seen in milk macronutrients in response to time of day.

Journal Article Type Conference Paper
Conference Name More Than Just Milk Lactation Science Symposium
Conference Location Perth, Australia
Acceptance Date Feb 14, 2022
Online Publication Date Feb 14, 2023
Publication Date 2023
Deposit Date Jul 1, 2024
Publicly Available Date Jul 2, 2024
Journal Proceedings
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 84
Issue 1
Article Number 7
Publisher URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations