What To Eat With Gestational Diabetes or Avoid

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what to eat with gestational diabetes or avoid
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The most beautiful time of a women’s life is the pregnancy period. During pregnancy, various changes like hormonal changes and body changes take place. Pregnant women need care and concern as their health affects their baby’s health. And in case the mother gets diabetes, her baby will be at risk of health issues. In such cases, your eating habits and diet plan will help you in gestational diabetes.

Have you noticed your doctors or nutritionists change your diet plan during pregnancy? It is necessary because your diet is the source of nutrients and energy that are essential for you and your baby’s growth and development.

It becomes more important to know about food to eat or avoid during gestational diabetes. But now the question is what to eat with gestational diabetes? To know about what to eat or not during gestational diabetes, scroll down and get a complete detailed list of foods to eat.

What to Eat With Gestational Diabetes or Avoid: A Complete List of 7 Food Items

A healthy diet is essential for pregnant women but more important for women with gestational diabetes. This article will help you to understand the importance of a balanced diet plan during pregnancy especially when you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes. After reading this article, you will never ask what to eat with gestational diabetes? Before diving into the list of what to eat with gestational diabetes, first get information about gestational diabetes.

Gestational diabetes diet
By Kzenon on Unlimphotos

Gestational Diabetes

No matter what kind of diabetes you have, the ultimate reason for its occurrence is the destruction of insulin. In gestational diabetes, the body of pregnant women does not produce enough insulin and also becomes resistant to insulin. As a result, various consequences may happen like, insulin imbalance and excess blood sugar levels.

But why does this insulin imbalance happen during pregnancy time? During pregnancy, various hormones get secreted, including human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), progesterone, human placental lactogen, and estrogen. They are responsible for insulin resistance in maternal cells. That’s why they are also known as insulin-resistant hormones. Due to this baby’s proper growth and development may be restricted or ceases.

Although there are no accurate symptoms of gestational diabetes, it may observe during the second half of pregnancy. Through the glucose tolerance test and glucose challenge test, doctors confirmed it. If the blood sugar levels are high, then it is recommended to eat a healthy diet and avoid sugary foods. Blood sugar levels for pregnant women, according to the American diabetes association;

  • Before a meal- 95 mg/dL or less
  • One hour after a meal- 140 mg/dL or less
  • Two hours after a meal- 120 mg/dL or less

You can lower the risk of gestational diabetes during your pregnancy by following a healthy diet and regular exercise routine. Overweight before pregnancy is also one of the reasons for developing gestational diabetes.

Let’s see what to eat with gestational diabetes.

Gestational Diabetes Diet:

Pregnant women who are suffering from gestational diabetes are required to eat a balanced and healthy diet. If you’re in one of them, then you have to add the following kind of foods into your diet.

1. Starch Intake in Limited Proportion

Women with gestational diabetes are needed to take starchy foods in a limited proportion. The reason is, that starch gets digested into sugar or glucose, which ultimately adds up to your glucose levels. High glucose levels are the cause of gestational diabetes. So, it is recommended to ingest starchy foods in a reasonable quantity, not in excess.

Source of Starchy and Sugary Foods

  1. White bread
  2. Pasta
  3. Potatoes
  4. Peas
  5. Corn
  6. Soda
  7. Sweets
  8. White-flour pasta
  9. Wholemeal pasta
  10. White rice
  11. French fries

These are the simple carbohydrate foods that are not good to consume during gestational diabetes. Instead of simple carbohydrates, add complex carbohydrates to your diet. Complex carbohydrates are whole grain and high fiber-containing carbohydrates. They are good for gestational diabetic persons, as they take a long time for digestion. Hence, no quick increase in blood sugar takes place, unlike simple carbohydrates.

Source of Complex Carbohydrates

  1. Wholegrain bread
  2. Sweet potato
  3. Beans
  4. Black beans
  5. Bran cereals
  6. Wheat tortilla
  7. Whole-grain pasta
  8. Oatmeal
  9. Pearled barley
  10. Brown rice

Difference between Simple and Complex Carbohydrates

  • Simple carbohydrates contain short chains of sugar molecules, whereas complex carbohydrates have long chains of sugar molecules.
  • The breakdown of simple carbohydrates is fast and provides immediate energy. While complex carbohydrates take a long time and provide energy for a longer period.
  • The rise in blood sugar is quick after the consumption of simple carbohydrates whereas in the case of complex carbohydrates blood glucose levels raises slowly.

2. Reduce Fruit Juices Consumption

Intake of any fruit juices is a quick way of raising blood sugar levels. Fruit juice is a concentrated form of carbohydrates, which digest so quickly and affect blood sugar. So, you need to reduce or skip fruit juices from your diet during medication for gestational diabetes.

3. Add Leafy Vegetables to Your Diet

Leafy vegetables in your diet chart will remove all your doubts regarding what to eat with gestational diabetes. Veggies can easily manage gestational diabetes by regulating blood sugar levels.

Legumes and leafy vegetables are not only maintained blood sugar level but also fulfills of nutritional needs of your body and your baby. They contain various nutrients including vitamins, and minerals, and also have low starch content. So, take lots of vegetables in your meals.

Leafy vegetables salad
By Apolonia on Unlimphotos

Examples of Leafy vegetables

  1. Lentils
  2. Spinach
  3. Lettuce
  4. Broccoli
  5. Cabbage

4. Low Sugar Fruits

If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, then sugary fruits in your diet will be bad for you. That’s why doctors recommend that women with gestational diabetes need to skip sugary fruits, as they increase glucose levels. Low sugar fruits are the best to replace with high sugar-containing fruits.

Low sugar fruits
By lisaclarke on Flickr @Some Rights Reserved

Healthy Fruits to Eat Instead of High Sugar Fruits
  1. Apple
  2. Citrus fruits
  3. Peaches
  4. Plums
  5. Avocado
  6. Raspberries

5. Take Protein Rich Diet

Proteins are the main building block of our body. They are required for the maintenance of cells and the formation of new cells in our body. During pregnancy, it plays important role in the growth of the baby. That’s why ingestion of enough protein is necessary, especially at the time of pregnancy.

A protein-rich diet also helps in balancing the blood sugar levels, which get imbalanced during gestational diabetes. For a balanced sugar level, a protein-rich diet in your diet plan is the best thing to cure gestational diabetes.

Source of Protein Diet

  1. Paneer
  2. Soya chunks
  3. Lentils
  4. Sprouts
  5. Yogurt
  6. Eggs
  7. Chicken

6. Intake of Healthy Fats Only

A balanced diet includes all the components of food in the required proportion. You can prevent the chances of gestational diabetes during your pregnancy by eating healthy fats along with proteins and carbohydrates.

There is a misconception about fats that they are bad for health. Not all fats are bad, some are essential to be a part of the diet as they provide energy as well as good for a baby’s brain development. Intake of saturated fats is linked with high energy and ultimately increases the risk of gestational diabetes.

Saturated fat is not good, you can replace them with unsaturated fat. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are the two types of unsaturated fats that are essential for you and your baby’s health.

Source of Healthy or Good Fats

  1. Olive oil
  2. Avocado
  3. Nuts- Almonds, walnuts, and peanuts
  4. Various healthy fat-containing seeds- chia seeds, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds.
  5. Safflower oil
  6. Soymilk

Source of Unhealthy or Bad Fats to Avoid

  1. Fried food
  2. Packaged or canned food
  3. Cookies
  4. Cakes
  5. Muffins and doughnuts
  6. Butter
  7. Whole-fat dairy products
  8. Coconut oil

By eating saturated or trans fats- unhealthy fats, you will be giving the way to various complications like high blood pressure, high blood sugar, risk of gestational diabetes, obesity, and early birth. If you don’t want such complications, then keep yourselves away from unhealthy foods.

7. Drink Milk Not in Limited Amount

Everyone knows a cup of milk is good for our bones. And in pregnancy milk is essential as it is responsible for the strong bones of the baby. Hence, you can’t avoid it. But what about gestational diabetes? Does intake of milk that contains a high amount of saturated fats good?

Intake of milk and milk products in a limited amount is good for your baby’s teeth and bones during gestational diabetes. Other food products are also rich in calcium and good alternatives for milk.

Other Sources for Calcium Besides Milk

  1. Spinach
  2. Low fat-containing tofu
  3. Low carb- cottage cheese
  4. Greek yogurt

Important Tips for Pregnant Women During Gestational Diabetes

You have to not only know about what to eat with gestational diabetes but also be aware of what lifestyle changes are needed to make. Most health issues arise due to eating habits and a bad lifestyle.

Never get tensed about gestational diabetes if you have it during your pregnancy; because after the birth of a child, it will get normalized means a high sugar level comes to the normal level. So, no need to worry but you have to take healthy foods, maintain a healthy weight, and medications for a healthy pregnancy.

Just like you pay attention to ‘what to eat with gestational diabetes,’ follow these important tips as well.

  1. Have balanced diet
  2. Do physical activities/exercises or yoga
  3. Take every meal in a small portion
  4. Eating in breaks
  5. Regular monitoring of sugar level
  6. Replace natural sugars with artificial sweeteners
  7. Have a nutritionist and gynecologist who will help you reduce the effects of gestational diabetes on your pregnancy.

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While at times contributed by guest authors, our content is medically reviewed periodically by professionals for accuracy and relevance. We pride ourselves on our high-quality content and strive towards offering expertise while being authoritative. Our reviewers include doctors, nurses, mental health professionals, and even medical students. 

Do note that any information found on the site does not constitute legal or medical advice. Should you face health issues, please visit your doctor to get yourself diagnosed. Icy Health offers expert opinions and advice for informational purposes only. This is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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