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Eat Nuts, Not Meat to Avoid Diabetes during Pregnancy

Gestational diabetes is a condition characterized by having high blood sugar levels during pregnancy. It increases the risk of maternal and fetal complications, and should therefore be prevented, especially in high-risk women who are obese.

Wei Bao, MD, PhD, an epidemiologist with the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Rockville, Maryland, and colleagues report that red mead consumption can significantly increase a woman’s risk for developing gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), while eating fish, chicken, legumes and nuts reduces it. Their findings were published in Diabetes Care.

The researchers analyzed data from the Nurses’ Health Study II, which involved more than 15,000 women who were asked to complete prepregnancy food questionnaires. They were followed, and more than 21,000 singleton pregnancies were analyzed, including 870 cases of GDM.

Their findings showed that after adjusting for other confounding factors like age, body mass index, parity, and dietary factors like fat and cholesterol intake, women who ate more animal protein were more likely to develop GDM than those who consumed more vegetables. In addition, they found that substituting one red meat with a healthier protein source was associated with about 30% lower risk for GDM for poultry, fish, and legumes, and about 50% for nuts.

The study support previous findings that red meat consumption is linked to weight gain, chronic diseases like diabetes, stroke and heart disease, and mortality from all causes. It also supports previous research that eating nuts is associated with reduced risk for diabetes and improvement of insulin sensitivity.


Tucker, M. Red Meat Raises Gestational Diabetes Risk, Nuts Lower It. Medscape.


Posted in: Diabetes, Diabetes Research, Diseases, News Briefs

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