Low carb diets don’t help women with GDM

Carbohydrate foods (eg breads, cereals, grains, rice, pasta, starchy vegetables, fruit, milk and yoghurt) break down to glucose and directly affect blood glucose levels. For women diagnosed with gestational diabetes during their pregnancy, eating the right amount and types of carbs is therefore essential for keeping blood glucose levels in the target range.  While some women may think that just cutting down on carbs is the answer, a new study published in this months Diabetes Care has shown that a low carb diet in women with GDM didn’t reduce the number of women needing insulin or affect pregnancy outcomes.  Many carbohydrate foods (eg wholegrains, fruit and dairy) are important in helping to meet nutritional needs during pregnancy, and very low carbohydrate intakes during pregnancy can be detrimental to a growing baby.  Previous research has shown that a low GI diet (where carbohydrate intake is similar but the types of carbs are changed to lower GI options) can reduce insulin requirements in women with GDM, which in conjunction with these latest findings suggests that choosing the right carbs rather than necessarily cutting down carbs (unless intake is particularly high), is the key to managing blood glucose levels in pregnancy.

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