Healthy eating for Gestational Diabetes

life2_240x240_24feb14Glucose is the primary source of energy for fetal growth. The aim of dietary advice is to prevent maternal hyperglycemia attenuating the Insulin Resistance of the pregnancy so as to prevent the onset of GDM. These dietary recommendations are based on a single benchmark representing by glycemic index (GI). It provides a measure of how quickly blood sugar levels rise after eating a particular type of food since low glycemic index diets have shown to benefit those being treated for diabetes.

Several authors compared different food programs during pregnancy based on high or low GI. The dietary intervention generally began during the first trimester; thirty per cent of total energy intake was to be fat and 55% carbohydrate food.

Some examples of food with a low GI:

  • Pasta made with durum wheat flour
  • Apples, oranges, pears, peaches
  • Beans and lentils
  • Sweetcorn
  • Porridge

Some examples of food with a high GI:

  • Baked potato
  • Cornflakes
  • White rice
  • Bread

Choosing more foods with a low GI may help you to control your blood sugar levels. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have any high-GI foods. Mixing high-GI foods with low-GI foods can lower the rate at which glucose is released into your bloodstream.

Eat a good breakfast
Eating a good breakfast can help regulate your blood sugar levels throughout the morning. Try to have a low-GI breakfast. Porridge is a good choice because it releases energy slowly and evenly. You could choose wholegrain cereals and breads with a small portion of a high-protein food such as a boiled egg or a low-fat yoghurt.

High GI foods such as sugar-coated cereals or white toast and jam can quickly raise your blood sugar levels.

Eat a variety of foods during the day
Across your day, try to have plenty of variety so that your food is interesting and appealing. Sometimes it helps to use colour to help you achieve this. If the food on your plate is made up of foods that are only brown or yellow, try adding in some red pepper and green salad or some raspberries and grapes, depending on whether or not it is a savoury meal.

Eat high-fibre foods
Eat plenty of high-fibre foods. These foods tend to have a low GI. This may help to keep your blood sugar levels from going too high after meals. High-fibre foods include:
Fresh fruit and vegetables
Wholegrain breads and cereals
Dried peas, beans and pulses

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Dr. Rajiv Kovil
Consultant Diabetologist, Dr. Kovil’s Diabetes Care Centre

Dr. Rajiv Kovil is a Consultant Diabetologist at Dr. Kovil’s Diabetes Care Centre, the first Preventive Diabetes Centre & Diabetic Foot Clinic in Mumbai, KLS Memorial Hospital and Holy Spirit Hospital among others. He is a founder member of United Diabetes Forum, a forum of practising diabetologists in India. He has also written various articles on diabetes for medical journals such as Asian Journal of Diabetology and Medical Image. His Preventive Diabetes Centre & Diabetic Foot Clinic is an initiative to provide preventive diabetic measures as well as to function as a specialized Foot Clinic for diabetic patients not only in terms of equipment but more importantly in terms of expertise.

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