No, being pregnant doesn’t mean having to eat for two. But yes, paying attention to your nutrition during the early part of your pregnancy could go a long way towards preserving both your and your baby’s health. According to a study conducted at the University of Turku and Turku University Hospital and published in the European Journal of Nutrition, dietary habits impacted both obesity and the onset of gestational diabetes in pregnant women.
ANI reported that this study examined the connection between dietary intake and the onset of gestational diabetes in 351 overweight or obese women. The study was conducted by calculating women’s nutrient intake from food diaries. Researchers recognised two dietary patterns from this– a healthier and an unhealthier one. Additionally, the news agency described the overall quality of the diet that recommended was also described with a diet quality index and the inflammatory potential with a dietary inflammatory index.
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The study’s first author, the doctoral Candidate Lotta Pajunen from the Institute of Biomedicine at the University of Turku, said that the research results clearly showed that following a healthy diet in early pregnancy reduces the risk of gestational diabetes. “The study also found that a higher dietary inflammatory index, meaning a diet that increases the low-grade inflammatory markers in the body was connected to an increased risk of developing gestational diabetes mellitus,” reported ANI, adding that higher consumption of fat and especially saturated fats were connected to gestational diabetes. “This is of interest as the intake of saturated fats is known to increase the body’s inflammation,” added ANI.
The analyses also concluded that eating a diet comprehensively promoting health is associated with a smaller risk of developing gestational diabetes. Associate Professor in Nutrition Kirsi Laitinen from the University of Turku, the PI of the Early Nutrition and Health research group that conducted the study, says that eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, berries, and wholegrain products as well as unsaturated fats is particularly important. “These nutrients and foods reduce inflammation in the body and therefore also the risk of gestational diabetes. In addition, mothers who are overweight or obese already before the pregnancy would most likely benefit from dietary guidance in early pregnancy,” concluded Kirsi Laitinen.
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