You are what you eat

Study finds popular food may increase risk of gestational diabetes

(SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

A new study analyzing a decade’s worth of data from a sampling of 15,000 American women found that those who became pregnant had a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes if they consumed potatoes in the weeks prior to conceiving. Gestational diabetes is temporary form of diabetes that occurs in a women only while she’s pregnant, and it can carry significant health implications for both the mother and child. Gestational diabetes can occur in otherwise healthy women who have no history whatsoever of diabetes. The study followed more than 21,000 pregnancies from 1991 through 2001, and of those pregnancies, 854 women who had no history of diabetes or other illnesses developed gestational diabetes. “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,” the study’s author, Dr. Cuilin Zhang, senior investigator in the Epidemiology Branch of the Division of Intramural Population Health Research at NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, said.

Why? “Potatoes elevate blood sugar in people more than just about any other type of food,” Aldo Palmieri, a doctor at UCLA Santa Monica Hospital told CBS News. “They are carbohydrates, and all carbohydrates have that potential.” So, since it would be wise to cut out the mashed potatoes and french fries before and during a pregnancy, are there any foods to eat instead? The authors of the study tested substitute foods and came up with a list of items that are lower in starches and carbohydrates. They recommend swapping them in for two servings of potatoes a week.

Read the full story at CBS News.

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