Are you pregnant, or plan to get pregnant, and eating foods high in animal fat and cholesterol? According to a study by National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Harvard University you may be increasing your chances of gestational diabetes.
What is Gestational diabetes
Gestational diabetes "is defined as carbohydrate intolerance that begins or is first recognized during pregnancy, is associated with increased maternal, fetal, and neonatal risks," by the American Congress Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). In layman's terms, it's a condition characterized by high glucose (sugar) levels.
To prevent and reduce health risks for mothers and newborns there are screenings done via patient history, clinical risk factors, or laboratory screenings (the oral glucose tolerance test). Pregnant women normally develop gestational diabetes later in pregnancy (usually after the 24th week.), including those who never had diabetes prior to pregnancy.
Nutritional role in Gestational Diabetes
Nutrition plays an important role in the development of gestational diabetes according to researchers at National Institutes of Health and Harvard University. During a recent study it was found that women who ate foods high in animal fat and cholesterol before pregnancy were at a greater risk for gestational diabetes.
"Our findings indicate that women who reduce the proportion of animal fat and cholesterol in their diets before pregnancy may lower their risk for gestational diabetes during pregnancy," said senior author Cuilin Zhang, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., of the Epidemiology Branch at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
(NICHD), one of three NIH institutes supporting the study.
What you can do
With the availability of ready to eat meals, fast foods and comfort foods the chance of developing gestational diabetes may be higher if you do not watch what you eat. The American Diabetics Association recommends eating three moderate meals a day with three snacks; dispursing carbohydrates throughout each meal. It also recommends eating no more than 40% of your daily caloric intake from carbohydrates. Exercise is also recommended since one of its many benefits is improved glycemic control.
Lisa M. White
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