A new study on gestational diabetes insists that women thinking about having children should cut back on potatoes in all their forms. So does that mean that french fries, potato chips, and a baked potato with all the fixin’s are off the table? Not necessarily.
According to the new study published in the British Medical Journal, women who eat more than five servings of some sort of potato-derived food before becoming pregnant are more likely to develop gestational diabetes while they are carrying the baby. Therein lies the key: a moderate diet of potatoes in combination with healthy daily servings of other kinds of vegetables and whole grains is just fine.
One of the scientists behind the new study on gestational diabetes, Linda Tapsell from the University of Wollongong, says that it’s important to understand that it’s not the potatoes that are causing the higher occurrences of gestational diabetes.
“While [the gestational diabetes study] might come across as a negative story on potatoes, in my mind it’s really supporting the moderation component. During pregnancy, there are a lot of things that need to be taken care of. Pregnant women have always been advised to eat nutritious foods and vegetables and need to maintain balance all along, especially in the area of diabetes.”
The research study was conducted over 10 years and involved thousands of test subjects. The scientists say that if you’re contemplating pregnant, now might be a good time to replace the potatoes in your diet with something like chickpeas, quinoa, or lentils.
Potatoes are often hard to avoid. They are the third most commonly consumed food crop on the entire planet, only surpassed by rice and wheat. In the United States, over a third of women of reproductive age eat potatoes daily.
Gestational diabetes is a condition in which women who previously hadn’t been diagnosed with the disease suddenly display very high blood sugar levels during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes usually becomes noticeable during the third trimester of pregnancy. Officially, gestational diabetes occurs when insulin receptors do not function properly, which is most likely related to changes within the woman’s body during pregnancy.
Gestational diabetes presents fewer noticeable symptoms and usually isn’t detected by mom or her doctor until a screening is done during pregnancy. When inordinately high levels are discovered in blood samples, gestational diabetes is often determined to be the culprit.
Babies born to mothers who have developed gestational diabetes and gone untreated are usually at increased risk of problems like being large for their gestational age. This can lead to delivery complications, low blood sugar levels in the fetus, and jaundice. Untreated gestational diabetes in the mother can also lead to seizures or stillbirth.
Women who smoke have double the chance of contracting gestational diabetes when compared to expectant moms who don’t smoke. Women over 35 years of age are at higher risk for contracting gestational diabetes, as are overweight and obese women, women who’ve had a previous pregnancy which involved a child with a high birth weight over 8 lbs and 12.8 oz, and some ethnic groups including African-American, Native Americans, and Hispanics.
The good news is that gestational diabetes is a treatable condition. A change in diet is usually the first thing that doctor’s recommend when an expecting mother presents with gestational diabetes, which is why the new study concerning the link between gestational diabetes and potatoes is so important. If a simple diet change doesn’t do the trick, there are other things the doctor will suggest to help the mom get a decent control on her glucose levels.
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