Pregnant Moms Beware: A Potato-Rich Diet May Lead To Gestational Diabetes

A new study has linked gestational diabetes to the consumption of starchy foods like potatoes

Ladies, step away from the mashed, roasted, baked and fried potatoes. According to US researchers, frequently having potatoes while pregnant may increase a woman’s risk on getting gestational diabetes.

A study in the British Medical Journal looked at a group of women and how often potatoes were in their diet. It then compared that to any cases of gestational diabetes in these participants. Over the course of 10 years, there were 21,693 pregnancies and 854 of acquired gestational diabetes. However, risk factors other than food were also considered: like age, the amount physical activity, a past family history of diabetes, overall diet, and obesity.

While the study says that potatoes are "rich in vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber, and some phytochemicals" they did note that having potatoes frequently can have a "detrimental effect" on glucose metabolism, because of the starch absorbed.

With those who consumed more than five portions of potatoes or fries a week, the risk for diabetes went up by 50%.

When your diet while pregnant consists of foods that are high on the Glycemic Index—like french fries, bagels, or white rice—you are much more likely to develop gestational diabetes. While delicious, these foods go into the bloodstream at a much faster pace than other alternatives.

Many women are lucky enough to have gestational diabetes go away after pregnancy, however, having it once can pose greater health risks or a likelihood of being prone to diabetes again for you and your baby.

Gestational diabetes is a condition that can occur for women in pregnancy where there is high levels of glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream. Symptoms can vary for everyone, some women may have none, and others may experience symptoms they wouldn't think to associate with diabetes: a dry mouth, fatigue, or frequent urination. Gestational diabetes can be lessened with frequent diet and exercise, but some cases may need medication daily to lower their blood glucose levels. It is important to keep in mind that if it is not controlled properly, it can lead to premature births or miscarriages for women.

Carbohydrates such as potatoes should only count for a third of your diet. The best solution to avoid this is to replace sides of potato with an assortment of hearty vegetables. Researchers estimate that by doing this mothers would lower their diabetes risk by 9-12%.

The study shows that we should be cautious of potatoes and the way we cook them. However, it insinuates a risk, but it does not directly prove that one causes the other. With diabetes, there can be a number of factors that can play a part in leading to it, so it's good to keep in mind that potatoes in the ways we love them once in a while aren't going to hurt you. 

We know that as a mother you want the best for you baby. Our recommendation is to do your research on the health benefits of certain foods and the risks of others while pregnant. Seek out advice from your family doctor or a nutritionist to ensure that you’re doing all that you can to avoid health risks like this.

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