Link Between Potatoes & Gestational Diabetes - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Link Between Potatoes & Gestational Diabetes

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Laurie Finberg never thought twice about eating a baked potato - even before she was expecting a baby. "I had a pretty balanced, healthy diet before I was pregnant. Potatoes are part of my diet."

A new study from the National Institutes of Health suggests women should take a closer look at their pre-pregnancy meals. It found eating potatoes before conceiving may be linked to gestational diabetes. Dr. Aldo Palmieri with UCLA Santa Monica Hospital says potatoes elevate blood sugar in people more than just about any other food. “They are carbohydrates and all carbohydrates have that potential." 

Researchers asked more than 15,000 women how often they ate potatoes over a 10 year period and tracked their pregnancies. Women who ate more potatoes had higher rates of gestational diabetes than those who consumed fewer potatoes. They also found that substituting other vegetables, legumes and whole grain foods for two servings of potatoes a week lowered the risk of gestational diabetes by nine to 12-percent.

While the study did not find that potatoes directly cause gestational diabetes, Dr. Palmieri says other foods do. "All the sugary drinks and the desserts also substantially elevate blood sugar."

Obesity is one of the main risk factors for gestational diabetes. Doctors say expectant moms, like Finberg, should always maintain a healthy weight. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says more than nine-percent of pregnant women will develop gestational diabetes and it affects the mother in late pregnancy.

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