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Faith Bontrager, RN, BSN

Faith Bontrager, RN, BSNFaith's passion in nursing is to help people find the options they need to discover their personal path to optimum health. Ask her friends and they will tell you that their appreciation of nutritious food has grown through Faith. About Faith Bontrager, RN, BSN


A Healthy Pregnancy

Fried Foods and Gestational Diabetes

Need an additional reason to avoid going through the fast food drive through for French fries? 

A recently published article (Diabetologia DOI 10.1007/s00125-0141-3382_x) indicated that women who eat fried foods more than once per week increase their risk of getting gestational diabetes during their pregnancy.  

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) can be dangerous to both women and their developing babies during pregnancy but can also impact long term health for both mother and baby. 

The study used data from the Nurses’ Health Study exploring the mother’s diet and their risk of developing gestational diabetes. 

  Risk of developing GDM compared with women who ate fried foods less than 1x/week Data adjusted for risk factors Data adjusted for risk factors & BMI
women who ate fried foods 1-3 times/week 1.28 1.23 1.06
women who ate fried foods 4-6 times/week 1.6 1.49 1.14
women who ate fried foods >7 times/week 3.07 2.55 1.88

Since smoking, a sedentary lifestyle, a family history of diabetes, or being older can increase a woman’s risk of diabetes, the researchers adjusted for these factors.

Being overweight or obese (high BMI) and eating a poor quality diet are also diabetes risk factors, so researchers further adjusted for these items.  While this did decrease the risk ratio, women who ate large amounts of fried foods were still almost twice as likely to get gestational diabetes as women who rarely ate fried foods.

One interesting note - fried foods prepared at home did not have nearly the risk as those eaten away from home.  While this study did not demonstrate why that difference occurs, we do know that frying oil deteriorates as it is reused. Home cooks are less likely to reuse oil numerous times which may explain the difference.

We hope you are already eating a healthy diet with lots of vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, whole grains, fish, and some dairy.  If you haven’t yet started a healthier diet, a good first step would be to replace fried foods with healthier alternatives.  Instead of traditional frying, try cooking “fried” foods in the oven or under the broiler at a high temperature with a light spray of a healthy oil. 

Nourish yourself and your baby!