[dropcap]W[/dropcap]omen who regularly eat potatoes are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes when they fall pregnant, research reveals.
Researchers suggested substituting potatoes with other vegetables, legumes like peas, beans and lentils or whole grain foods to lower the risk.
Experts analysed total potato consumption, including baked, boiled, mashed and fried, of 15,000 women who later became pregnant over a 10-year period. One serving included one baked or boiled potato, 237ml of mashed potatoes or 113g of fries.
Even one serving a week before pregnancy appeared to increase the risk by 20% compared with women eating less than one serving a week. Those eating more than five servings a week had a 50% increased risk.
The experts said, “Though potatoes are rich in vitamin C, potassium, dietary fibre and some phytochemicals, unlike other vegetables they can have detrimental effects on glucose metabolism because they contain large amounts of rapidly absorbable starch.”
When women substituted two servings a week with other vegetables, pulses such as beans, lentils and peas, and whole grain foods, they had a 9% to 12% lower risk. Experts said higher potato consumption before pregnancy was significantly associated with an increased risk of the condition. They said high potato consumption had already been associated with insulin resistance and an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes.
Another researcher Emily Burns cautioned, “This study does not prove that eating potatoes before pregnancy will increase a woman’s risk of developing gestational diabetes, but it does highlight a potential association between the two. However, as the researchers acknowledge, these results need to be investigated in a controlled trial setting before we can know more. What we do know is that women can significantly reduce their risk of developing gestational diabetes by managing their weight through eating a healthy, balanced diet and keeping active.”