Because certain foods have a stronger effect on your blood sugar than others, you’ll want to pay close attention to your nutrition during pregnancy, and avoid eating anything that raises your blood sugar a significant amount. You should talk to your healthcare provider about a food plan, if you haven’t already.
You’ll need to get a little practice under your belt, but once you’re familiar with what to avoid, your nutrition will be much easier to manage. Eating with gestational diabetes in mind may seem a bit limiting, but there are still lots of delicious foods that don’t affect the blood sugar as much as others.
Is there a special diet for gestational diabetes?
Because carbohydrates affect your blood glucose levels, your healthcare provider or dietician might advise you to alter your carbohydrate intake in some way. Other than that, there isn’t one particular diet for gestational diabetes, and you probably won’t need to severely limit the types of foods that you eat.
You will need to avoid some types of food, however, and to reduce your intake of others to keep your blood sugar levels low. Here are the foods that many healthcare providers recommend women avoid or limit to manage gestational diabetes.
Foods and drinks with lots of sugar
You’ll probably want to make a special effort to not eat foods that have a lot of sugar, and the same is true for drinks, which can have deceptively high sugar contents. Some common examples of foods and drinks that are high in sugar include:
- Fruit juice
- Sugary soft drinks
- Jams and jelly
Foods and drinks with lots of starch
Starch also raises your blood sugar, and many highly processed starchy foods don’t have a lot of nutritional value. Here are some high starch foods you might want to limit:
- Processed grains – white flour, white rice, white tortillas, white bread, breakfast cereals or any other wheat product that isn’t made from whole grains
- Potatoes and french fries
- Instant oatmeal
Foods with lots of sodium
Your body needs salt during pregnancy, but too high of an intake can cause high blood pressure, which is especially dangerous in women with gestational diabetes because those with this condition might be at a higher risk for preeclampsia. So it really is best to try and get no more than the recommended daily amount of sodium.
You’d be surprised at which foods contain a high amount of salt! Canned soups, canned vegetables, pickled vegetables, prepared foods and foods that have ham or pork all deliver high amounts of sodium, and might best be avoided for the time being.
Foods that are high in fat
Fat doesn’t raise your blood sugar, but it can cause excess weight gain that makes gestational diabetes more difficult to manage. Some foods that are high in fat include fried foods, creamy foods, and full-fat dairy. You should especially watch out for foods with artificial trans fats or those that are high in saturated fats.
The bottom line
Even if you have or are at risk for gestational diabetes, you can still enjoy a delicious diet. Just make sure you check with your healthcare provider about what might be suggested, or not so suggested, at this time.
- “Dietary Recommendations for Gestational Diabetes.” UCSFHealth. University of California San Francisco, 2016. Web.
- Shanti Menon. “Mercury Guide.” NRDC. National Resources Defense Council, Mar 10 2016. Web.
- “Sugar and desserts.” Diabetes. American Diabetes Association, Jan 27 2015. Web.
- “Soft drinks and disease.” Harvard. The President and Fellows of Harvard College, 2016. Web.
- Frances Towner Giedt. “Diabetic Jam, Jelly, and Relish Recipes.” DiabeticLifestyle. Vertical Health, Jan 3 2013. Web.
- C Bryson, et al. “Association between Gestational Diabetes and Pregnancy-induced Hypertension.” American Journal of Epidemiology. 158(12)1148-1153. Web. Dec 15 2003.