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More potatoes during pregnancy, more chance of diabetes: Research

A new study has found that consumption of potatoes by women during pregnancy could increase the risk of developing gestational diabetes. Researchers found that women who consumed fries during pre-conception have a greater risk of developing diabetes during pregnancy.

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Gestational diabetes develops during pregnancy that can affect the health of the mom and her baby. Researchers from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and Havard University studied data from more than 15,000 women, who were taking part in the Nurses’ Health Study II from 1991 to 2001. Researchers studied the potato intake over a day, including fried, mashed and boiled potatoes, every four years. The team also tracked pregnancies, and found that out of 21,693 pregnancies, there were 854 cases of gestational diabetes. These women did not have diabetes or any chronic illnesses before becoming pregnant.

“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,” said study author Dr. Culin Zhang.

The results showed that women who eat more than five servings of potato per week have 50 percent more chances of developing gestational diabetes. It has also been proved that high intake of potatoes can lead to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Dr. Minisha Sood, director of inpatient diabetes at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York said that the findings did not surprise her. Mashed cauliflower can be a satisfying substitute for mashed potatoes as it’s low on the glycemic index, she added.

Doctors recommend limiting the intake of potatoes to two servings per week. Other types of food such as vegetables, lean meat, fruits, eggs and foods containing fibers can reduce the risk of gestational diabetes. However, the authors have called for more research on the subject. Dr. Zhang believes that a larger, more general study population would reveal more risk.

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