A diet rich in fibre, low in saturated fats and trans fatty acids decreases the risk of gestational diabetes. Data from a Finnish study on expectant mothers. Consuming healthy, high-fibre foods protects pregnant women from the risk of developing gestational diabetes. Conversely, women who consume foods rich in saturated fat and other substances that promote inflammation are more likely to develop this condition which, although temporary, is dangerous for mothers and children. This is a study conducted by the University of Turku, Finland. What can help prevent gestational diabetes?
Thanks to this research it was possible to monitor the quality of the diet of 351 overweight and obese mothers-to-be. The most at risk of developing gestational diabetes. At the beginning of the pregnancy, women had to fill a questionnaire to detect their eating habits. Subsequently, between the 24th and 28th week, to diagnose the possible presence of gestational diabetes. Consequently, will perform The Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT: Oral Glucose Tolerance Test). The women, therefore, made to ingest a water-based solution containing 75 grams of glucose. Accordingly proceed with the blood samples: the first on an empty stomach; the second after an hour from ingesting the glucose and the last after two hours. In order to certify the presence of gestational diabetes, at least one of the samples must detect values above the threshold: in this case, 23% of the women involved in the Finnish study were diagnosed.
THE “NO” DIET
From the study results, women with gestational diabetes have lower dietary quality than those who did not. Their diet is characterized by a high consumption of non-whole wheat bread, milk-based desserts such as ice cream, sweets and sugar. In particular, in pregnant women who have developed diabetes, significantly higher consumption of total fats, saturated fatty acids – contained for example in butter and spreads – and trans fatty acids, typical of industrial products such as potato chips or packaged snacks, were highlighted.
THE “YES” DIET
But how can help to prevent gestational diabetes? Mothers-to-be who have not developed diabetes, on the other hand, have a healthier diet, characterized for example by high consumption of fruits, vegetables, berries, rye bread, fish and seafood. All foods rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre, but above all lacking in saturated fatty acids which tend to predispose our body to a high inflammatory state, among the main factors affecting the development of gestational diabetes.
WHO IS AT RISK OF DIABETES?
Overweight or obese mothers- to-be have a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes. However, every woman should monitor her blood glucose during pregnancy. Given the important repercussions that could be there not only for the mother, but also for the baby. Due to the effect of placental hormones, it is physiological to establish a condition of insulin resistance. As consequent increase in blood levels of glucose (glycaemia). This allows a correct flow of nutrients from the mother to the growing fetus. In about 7% of cases, however, this completely natural condition leads to gestational diabetes, also due to an incorrect diet.
THE RISKS OF GESTATIONAL DIABETES
The passage of excess glucose into the maternal blood through the placenta is responsible for fetal hyperglycemia, fetal overgrowth and hypoglycemia after birth; as well as an increased risk of obesity in childhood. The mother, in addition to having a greater probability of having to resort to caesarean section, could present complications such as hypertension, dyslipidemia. Even more, alterations in the amount of lipids in the blood, in particular triglycerides and cholesterol – and type 2 diabetes mellitus, which could established and persist even after the birth. Eating healthy, especially during pregnancy, turns out to be a precious ally, and our children will thank us.