For good reason expectant mothers have long been warned to be careful about what they eat. Pregnant women with diets high in junk food are known to increase the risk of their children being obese.

While scientists also believe that providing a developing child with enough nutrients can affect their intelligence. 

But new research suggests all the harmful effects and damage from a lacklustre diet can be reversed and it's all down to feeding children a healthy diet, scientists claim. 

Researchers from the University of Cincinnati used four groups of female mice to test their theory.

The first group was fed a controlled diet during both pregnancy and lactation while the second consumed foods high in fat.

Rodents in the third and fourth groups were given a nutrient-enriched diet, but the latter consisted of offspring from those on a high-fat diet

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When they all became adults they were then given the same control diet, to assess the effects of healthy eating in infancy. The researchers then used chambers in which a mouse must nose-poke into a hole to get a reward to examine their motivation. 

They found that female offspring who were given the most nutrients during early life learned much quicker.

And they were also more motivated to obtain the sugary reward, the study published in The FASEB Journal found.  

Furthermore, the nutrient supplementation also reversed some of the deficits observed due to high-fat feeding during pregnancy.

Dr Thoru Pederson, editor of the journal, said: 'These are provocative findings. So many effects during pregnancy have been touted as irreversible perhaps not always so.'

This comes after Washington University scientists found in June that pregnant women who eat high-fat diets risk making their children obese.  

Their study suggested that gorging on junk food in pregnancy also increases the risk a woman's grandchildren and great-grandchildren being overweight.