STATES CHRONICLE – While a very common part of daily meals, eating potatoes before pregnancy might lead to gestational diabetes, according to a new study. Researchers found a potential association between the vegetable and a condition that is common among expecting mothers. While the risk is low, there are ways to avoid it.
According to the team of researchers from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, potatoes are a very frequently consumed vegetable. Their study focused on their effect on women before pregnancy and found a potential association between their consumption and gestational diabetes.
The condition usually occurs in the third trimester (over 28 weeks), but fortunately disappears after the baby is born. However, the risks do not end there with the mother. The condition increases the risk of the women developing type 2 diabetes later on in life. It is possible that potato consumption before conceiving is partly at fault.
Researchers studies data between 1991 and 2001, of over 21,000 women who gave birth. Among them, almost 900 presented with gestational diabetes. The scientists took into account former conditions before pregnancy, BMI, and other influencing factors. After ruling them out, they attributed the increased risk to the daily consumption of potato servings, no matter the method.
One potato serving was equal to one baked or boiled potato, 113g of fries, or 237ml of mashed potatoes.
Women who had at least one potato serving per week saw an increased risk by 20% of developing gestation diabetes during pregnancy. If they ate between two and four servings, the risk rose to 27%. However, if the mother reported eating over five servings, then the risk jumped to 50% chance of presenting with the condition.
According to experts, potatoes are an important part of our diets. They are rich in vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, but unfortunately also contain “large amounts of rapidly absorbable starch”. The vegetable has already been linked in the past with a higher insulin resistance and increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Senior author of the study, Dr. Cuilin Zhang, underlined that they found an association between potato consumption and the disease, not a cause and effect relationship. Women should not be encouraged to remove potatoes from their diets, but instead opt for a varied food pallet. That means sometimes replacing them with other vegetable, such as beans, peas, and whole grain foods. The switch has been shown to lower the risk by 9 to 12%.
Dietary balance, as always, is key.
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