Potato Consumption During Pregnancy Increases Gestational Diabetes Risk

First Posted: Jan 13, 2016 02:01 PM EST

Potato consumption during pregnancy may be linked to an increased risk of gestational diabetes, according to a recent study.

Researchers at the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development studied data on 16,000 women who participated in a national health study of female nurses. About 900 cases of gestational diabetes occurred during a 10-year follow-up in a sample of 22,000 single-birth pregnancies. The study showed that gestational diabetes risk increased by 27 percent if a pregnant woman consumed between two and four cups of potatoes a week before pregnancy. Five or more cups of potatoes were even linked to a 50 percent increased risk of gestational diabetes, regardless of pre-pregnancy obesity.

"The more women consumed potatoes, the greater risk they had for gestational diabetes," said senior author Dr. Cuilin Zhang, a senior investigator with the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, via Health Day. "Potatoes are regarded as a kind of vegetable, but not all vegetables are healthy."

Researchers believe that substituting two or more servings of potatoes every week could help lower their risk of gestational diabetes from 9 to 12 percent when swapped out with vegetables or whole grains.

However, researchers caution that the study results do not show an association between potato consumption and gestational diabetes risk. 

The study is published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

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