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Gestational Diabetes Diet Plan: What Should You Eat?

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Story at-a-glance -

  • Overeating or skipping meals can cause a variety of negative effects on your body if you have diabetes
  • Seafood consumption during pregnancy has also been observed to positively influence brain health and cognitive function in children

The quality and the quantity of the food you eat are very important if you're diabetic. This attention to detail is required even more during pregnancy because of the high risk of complications that both you and your child can suffer.

What Should You Eat if You're Pregnant and Diabetic?

If you're currently suffering from gestational diabetes or you're a diabetic patient planning on conceiving, there is a high chance that you're unsure of what you should be eating. Aside from the need to optimize your diet to comply with food restrictions, there is also the additional factor of the safety of the pregnancy. Two diet components that you should add to your diet include:

Seafood — It's high in omega-3s and high-quality protein, but low in carbohydrates.1 Seafood consumption during pregnancy has also been observed to positively influence brain health and cognitive function in children.

Keep in mind that not all seafood is good for you, especially those that are prone to mercury contamination.

Make sure that you consume small fish like sardines and anchovies, and steer clear of larger types of fish like tuna and marlin. Wild Alaskan salmon sourced from pristine water sources is also a great option.

Fiber-rich foods — Not only does fiber control the glucose that is absorbed, but it also helps in regulating blood pressure, one of the possible complications of diabetes. Additionally, fiber slows down the integration of glucose into the bloodstream.2

Some examples of fiber-rich foods are avocados, artichokes and broccoli.3 You can also add peas, lentils and beans to your diet, but be sure that you're aware of their lectin content and the proper way on how to prep and cook them.4

5 Diet Tips for Expectant Mothers With Gestational Diabetes

To make it easier for you to optimize your diet and make sure that what you're eating is safe for you and your child, here are some tips you can follow:5

1. Balance out your meals — Overeating or skipping meals can cause a variety of negative effects on your body if you have diabetes.

Distribute your food intake to three meals a day with only one or two snacks. Eating breakfast is also essential to regulate the hormonal fluctuations you may suffer upon waking up.

2. Eat starchy foods in moderation — Starchy foods, which include bread and wheat, get turned into glucose once digested. By making sure that you eat starch in modest amounts, you can avoid overloading on glucose which could lead to adverse effects on your body.

3. Limit fruit intake — Fruits are naturally healthy and are essential for the maintenance of a healthy, balanced diet. However, some fruits contain high amounts of fructose that can hike up your blood glucose levels.

By limiting your fruit portions, you can make sure that you're getting your fair share of vitamins and minerals without causing your blood sugar to fluctuate.

4. Stay away from junk food and added sugars — Aside from the array of negative health effects linked to junk food, it is also one of the leading causes of insulin resistance, as well as an independent factor for the development of gestational diabetes in pregnant women.6

The high carbohydrate content in junk food is usually transformed into glucose for energy expenditure. By avoiding junk foods altogether, you ensure that you get to eat a more natural and nutrient-dense energy source.

5. Keep a food record — Make sure that you record your meals to help you keep track of your food intake and monitor your carbohydrate load. It will also provide you with a rundown of which vitamins and minerals you're not getting enough of.

It is highly recommended that you consult a health practitioner regarding your condition. Working with a professional will help you develop an effective diet plan without the risk of skimping on the essential vitamins and minerals your body requires.

This will also help you safely navigate through the delicate nature of your pregnancy and avoid developing or suffering from various complications that may arise.

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