Are you partial to a bucket of fried chicken or cheesy chips when you’re pregnant? It could increase the risk of gestational diabetes.
According to a new study, those who enjoy fried food when they’re expecting are at a much higher risk of gestational diabetes (glucose intolerance) – a condition that affects roughly one on 30 women.
The condition occurs when pregnant women fail to produce enough insulin causing their blood sugar to become abnormally high. The condition can lead to birth by caesarean, premature birth or more serious consequences.
Symptoms include thirst, increased use of the toilet and tiredness – just like normal diabetes.
READ: PREGNANCY HEALTH A-Z: GESTATIONAL DIABETES
Most maternity units recommend a screening test for diabetes based on a blood sugar test and if the test returns positive, it can be treated with pills to lower the blood sugar or a better diet.
The study, by Harvard University, looked at data on 15,027 women over a 10-year period.
READ: WHAT TO EAT IN PREGNANCY FOR A HEALTHY BABY
The results showed that women who ate fried food seven times a week were 88 per cent more likely to develop gestational diabetes compared with those who ate it less than once a week.
Lead researcher Dr Cuilin Zhang believes that fried foods contain chemicals, which impair the body’s ability to control blood sugar. These include transfats, which may weaken the effect of insulin.
‘The potential detrimental effects of fried food consumption on gestational diabetes risk may result from the modification of foods and frying medium and generation of harmful by-products during the frying process,’ he said.
READ: EATING JUNK FOOD BEFORE GETTING PREGNANT ‘RAISES RISK OF PREMATURE BIRTH’
Dr Richard Elliott, from Diabetes UK, told the MailOnline, ‘This study does not show that eating fried foods is a direct cause of gestational diabetes, but does highlight the link between an overall unhealthy diet and weight gain in the development of the condition.
‘It is very important that women who plan to become pregnant lead a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet and taking regular exercise to reduce their risk,’ he added.
Do you watch what you eat when you’re pregnant? Let us know below.