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Pregnant Women Should Avoid Potatoes: Here's Why

Update Date: Jan 14, 2016 02:49 PM EST

A recently published research by the National Institutes of Health warned that pregnant women who are fond of potato-rich diets face higher risk of 'gestational diabetes' than those who don't.

Published in the British Medical Journal, the study concluded that eating spuds (potato chips included) more than 5 times every week could lead to 50% greater risk of having gestational diabetes - the type that commonly develops in the 24th week of pregnancy. The disease is typically associated with high glycemic index food and high blood sugar.

"We found that higher pre-pregnancy consumption of potatoes was significantly associated with a greater risk of gestational diabetes, even after adjustment for other major risk factors, "said lead author Dr. Cuilin Zhang of the National Institutes of Health as quoted by Huewire.

The study involved a careful analysis of health records of 15, 632 women included in the 1991-2001 Nurses' Health Study II. The women had no records of gestational diabetes or other serious disease prior to pregnancy. In the 10-year study, the research team evaluated the consumption of potatoes among the subjects and monitored any reported case of diabetes backed by official medical records as mentioned by Science Recorder.

Surprisingly, ten years later, there were 854 reported incidences of diabetes in the 21, 693 pregnancies. Even after adjusting the risk factors, the researchers found that those who consume more than five servings of potato-related meals and diets experienced 50% risk. Increased consumption of starchy foods like potatoes negatively affects the body's normal glucose metabolism.

"Our findings are biologically plausible, though the detailed underlying mechanisms remain to be elucidated," explained the researchers as stated in an article that appeared on MedPage Today.

Other experts expressed reasonable caution but nevertheless approved of the study's usefulness.

"This study does not prove that eating potatoes before pregnancy will increase a woman's risk 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," commented Diabetes UK researcher Dr. Emily Burns as quoted in a UPI report.

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