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Potatoes Linked To Gestational Diabetes In Pregnant Women

Baked Potatoes
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Women trying to become pregnant may want to watch out for starchy foods more than ever, particularly french fries and other potato based confections.

New research published in the British Medical Journal on January 12 has found that women who consume more than five servings of potatoes per week prior to becoming pregnant are more apt to develop a form of diabetes that only occurs during pregnancy, gestational diabetes.

The study, which involved thousands of test subjects, was conducted by researchers from the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and Harvard University. Over the span of a decade, from 1991 to 2001, the researchers tracked the food consumption–which included potato intake–of more than 15,000 women who took part in the Nurses’ Health Study II.

Study author and senior investigator Dr. Cuilin Zhang with the Epidemiology Branch of the Division of Intramural Population Health Research at the NIH was quoted by CBS as having said that she and her colleagues had “found that a diet with a higher level of potato consumption before pregnancy was related to a greater risk of developing diabetes during pregnancy”.

We found that a diet with a higher level of potato consumption before pregnancy was related to a greater risk of developing diabetes during pregnancy

Offering a potential solution for women looking to avoid such foods prior to pregnancy, the study’s authors proposed a reduction on potato intake in which potatoes are replaced with other vegetables, whole grains or legumes.

The researchers estimated a nine percent reduction in gestational diabetes risk for those who substituted vegetables in place of two servings of potatoes each week.

For legumes, they estimated a 10 percent reduction and when it came to whole grains, 12 percent.

For women who are trying to become pregnant, Dr. Zhang recommends no more than one serving of potatoes per week. She also notes that potatoes “contain healthful nutrients,” which is why they should not be axed entirely.

A potato does contain healthful nutrients. Vitamin C and potassium and a small amount of dietary fiber. But it’s all about the dose. I think moderate consumption is still fine but not too high […] From our data, we show if they consume one serving per week then they’re still okay, but if they consume two or more servings, there’s an increased risk for gestational diabetes.

In conclusion, the study’s authors wrote that higher levels of potato intake prior to pregnancy are associated with an increased risk of GDM, however, substituting legumes, other vegetables or whole grain foods in place of potatoes “might” lower the risk of developing the condition.

In other pregnancy related health coverage here at Immortal News, new research shows that drinking caffeine while pregnant might not pose any risk to unborn children.

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