Ah, the potato. Fried, scalloped, mashed, baked...all forms are delicious if you ask, oh, 99 percent of the population. But it turns out if you are TTC, eating potatoes may actually up your risk for developing gestational diabetes once you get pregnant, which can cause long-term negative health effects for mom and baby. Hey, don't hate the messenger!
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health looked at the diets of women before they became pregnant, zeroing in on potatoes. If consumed, this scrumptious, yet high-glycemic food was found to increase the odds participants would later develop potentially dangerous levels of high blood sugar during pregnancy, called gestational diabetes.
For the study, which was published in The BMJ (formerly The British Medical Journal), data from more than 15,000 healthy women without a history of gestational diabetes was evaluated, over the course of 10 years. Every four years, the women were asked to fill out surveys about their diets. Specifically, they were asked how many times daily (from none to six) they ate baked, boiled, or mashed potatoes, fries or potato chips.
Researchers concluded the major potato fans were significantly more likely to develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy. In light of the results, they advise women to substitute potatoes for legumes, whole grains, and vegetables (other than potatoes, of course), to lower their risk.
Sniff. Bye, potatoes.
It's worth noting the study was not designed to show cause and effect, meaning researchers cannot conclude potatoes cause gestational diabetes. Perhaps it's not the potatoes themselves that are to blame for this connection, but that eating potatoes as part of a diet made up of high-glycemic foods is more likely to lead to gestational diabetes. So if you'll eat a potato, maybe you'll also eat cake, cookies, bread, and so on.
Either way, a potato here and there likely won't hurt you. But it seems in this case, there really can be too much of a good thing.
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Follow her on Twitter (@Spitupnsuburbs), where she chronicles her love of exercising and drinking coffee, but never simultaneously.