What to Eat When You’re Pregnant and Diabetic

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What to Eat When You’re Pregnant and Diabetic

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that happens only during pregnancy. When pregnant, hormonal changes can make cells less responsive to insulin, which is not a problem for most moms.

However, for some, the pancreas cannot keep up with increased insulin levels and blood glucose levels rise, resulting to gestational diabetes. After childbirth, most women do not remain diabetic. When you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, you need to eat a healthy, balanced diet.

Good Carbs

Carbohydrates are needed for energy, but too many carbohydrates can lead to higher sugar level. Reducing intake of refined carbohydrates is the key. Carbohydrates can be simple or complex. Simple carbohydrates are sugars, which can come as added sugars (table sugar and honey) or natural sugars (sugars from fruits and dairy).

Complex carbohydrates are starchy carbohydrates like rice, pasta, bread, grains and more. In both simple and complex carbohydrates, choose the healthier option. For instance, it is best to go for sugars from fruits rather than table sugar or have whole grains for extra fiber. Avoid added sugars and be wary of your intake of complex carbohydrates.

Low GI Foods

A food’s glycemic index (GI) is a measure of the speed of sugar being released into the bloodstream after intake. It is important to take foods that are low in GI but high in fiber. This helps manage diabetes because low-GI foods are longer to digest so glucose is released slowly.

Examples of low-GI foods are fruits like peaches, oranges, apples and pears, lentils, beans, sweet corn and pasta with durum wheat flour. You can also combine food with high GI and low GI like peanut butter and toast or baked potato and baked beans.

Improving your Diet

  • Good breakfast. Start your day with a healthy breakfast to regulate blood sugar throughout the morning. Go for low-GI foods that release energy evenly and slowly. Combining whole grain cereals with protein-rich foods such as boiled egg is also good.
  • Eating in variety. Have a variety of foods within a day so you get different nutrients. Color can be your guide to achieve this. Add red pepper or green salad to your plate of brown meat. Eat at regular intervals and avoid skipping meals.
  • High-fiber foods. Fiber can keep your blood sugar from rising after meals. Fiber from wholegrain cereals and bread, fresh fruits and vegetables are the best. Beans, dried peas and pulses are also excellent fiber sources.
  • Five fruit portions. You can follow the five portions of fruits and vegetables a day. Have some fruit for breakfast, add salad to your lunch, take two vegetables for dinner and snack on fruits.
  • Avoid saturated foods. Saturated fats raise cholesterol levels in the blood, making diabetics at risk for heart problems and stroke. Avoid foods with saturated fats like lard, salt pork, fatback, high-fat meat (bologna, bacon, sausage) , high-fat dairy (full-fat cheese, ice cream), butter and poultry skin. Look for better alternatives such as olive oil or sunflower oil for cooking, healthier spread over butter, grilling or baking over frying and trimming fats from meat.    

Whether or not you have gestational diabetes, proper nutrition is vital during pregnancy. Your main aim is to ensure your blood glucose levels are under control. Choose nutritious carbohydrate sources or eat less carbs.

It also helps to spread your carbohydrates throughout the day. After giving birth, continue your healthy eating habits especially if you plan to breastfeed for you are at risk of developing gestational diabetes again in your future pregnancy or worse, develop Type 2 diabetes.

Editorial Team
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One Comment

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