According to a British study, women likely to develop diabetes during their pregnancy can reduce the risk by adopting a diet rich in nuts, fruit and olive oil.
Researchers from London’s Queen Mary University studied an ethnically diverse group of 1,252 pregnant women across five English maternity units. Most of the women selected were overweight (69 percent) or suffered from high blood pressure.
The participants were randomly divided into two groups: in the control group, the women were given a standard diet based on the UK food guide, while the experimental group was given a diet rich in mono- and polyunsaturated fats (featuring foods such as nuts, fruit, veggies, extra-virgin olive oil, unrefined grains and legumes and some fish, at the expense of red meat and processed food).
35 percent less risk in women following a Mediterranean-style diet
The results of the study, which was published in PLOS Medicine, demonstrated that the Mediterranean diet resulted in a 35 percent decrease in the risk of developing diabetes during pregnancy, as well as an average weight gain that was 1.25 kilos less than the women in the group.
However, the research did not establish a link between a polyunsaturated fats-rich diet and a decrease in pregnancy-related complications, besides gestational diabetes (a form of diabetes that generally occurs during the second trimester).
The study also presents a number of limitations: only 40 percent of participants from both groups stuck with the experiment until the end. In addition, the results were based on the participants’ own reporting, instead of biomarkers that would have objectively measured nutritional intake.