The National Institute of Health says that pregnant women should avoid potatoes in order to lower the risk of developing gestational diabetes.
Diabetes is a condition which involves a low blood sugar level. 3 percent of the pregnant women in the UK suffer from this condition. Some of the most common symptoms include fatigue, dry mouth and frequent urination. Gestational diabetes is quite easy to deal with: it can be controlled through exercise and diet, but in some cases medication is needed. Most importantly it should not be left untreated because otherwise it might lead to premature births, stillbirths and miscarriage.
The lead author of the study, Cuilin Zhang from the National Institute of Health in Maryland, US, explained that gestational diabetes makes women experience hypertension and pre-eclampsia. This might affect the fetus and over a longer period of time the mother could suffer from type-2 diabetes
The study involved health records from 21, 693 pregnant women who took part in the Nurses’ Health study II. The investigation lasted ten years, between 1991 and 2001. None of the participants had records of diabetes or any other serious illness which could have occurred before pregnancy. The investigators focused on the women’ s potato consumption and on any reported cases of diabetes.
Overall there were 854 reports of gestational diabetes. The scientists found out that women who consume more than five meals based on potatoes have 50 percent increased chances of developing gestational diabetes. Women who consumed between two and four servings of potatoes per week showed 27 percent chances of developing gestational diabetes.
This is due to the fact that potatoes are among starchy foods which affect the normal glucose metabolism in a negative way. The potato-related meals included baked, boiled, mashed or chip potatoes.
It was also found that if the potatoes servings were replaced with meals containing other vegetables or whole grains or if women at least ate such meals twice a week the risk of diabetes was reduced by 9 percent to 12 percent.
Dr. Emily Burns from Diabetes UK remarked:
This study does not prove that eating potatoes before pregnancy will increase a woman’s risk developing gestational diabetes, but it does highlight a potential association between the two.
Overall UK experts said that there is not enough proof to prevent pregnant women from eating potatoes. The researchers agreed that their study needs further controlled investigation so as to find out more about the relation between diabetes and potatoes.
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