High animal fat diet increases gestational diabetes risk
NIH study shows eating animal fat before getting pregnant is linked to gestational diabetes.
Balintfy: Researchers using information from more than 13-thousand women participating in the Nurses’ Health Study II have found an important link between diet and having a healthy pregnancy.
Zhang: Higher animal fat and cholesterol intake were associated with an increased risk of gestational diabetes.
Balintfy: Dr. Cuilin Zhang at the NIH is the senior author of a recent paper published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Zhang: Gestational diabetes is a common pregnancy complication. And it affects both women themselves and also their babies.
Balintfy: Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes seen during pregnancy that increases the risk for certain pregnancy complications and health problems in the newborn.
Bowers: One of the major risk factors is obesity.
Balintfy: Dr. Katherine Bowers at the NIH is the lead author of the paper.
Bowers: I think one of the important points of this paper though is that it's not just obesity, but the independent and the specific dietary factors themselves. For example the specific fats, animal fat – the source of the fat – and cholesterol.
Balintfy: Women whose diets were high in total fat or other kinds of fats – but not in animal fat or cholesterol – did not have an increased risk. Moreover, the increased risk for gestational diabetes seen with animal fat and cholesterol did not appear connected to other dietary and non-dietary risk factors. For example, exercise is known to reduce the risk of gestational diabetes. But women in the study who exercised and consumed higher amounts of animal fat and cholesterol had the higher risk. Dr. Zhang says these findings have important implications.
Zhang: For women who are planning for pregnancy, they should also work on their diet.
Balintfy: The researchers conclude that changing the source of 5 percent of dietary calories from animal fat to plant-derived sources could decrease a woman's risk for gestational diabetes by 7 percent.
Zhang: Given that gestational diabetes is such a common pregnancy complication, and its prevalence is increasing, and also considering the potential adverse impact of gestational diabetes on the baby's outcome, it's really important to identify modifiable factors to help women to prevent the development of this disorder during pregnancy.
Balintfy: The researchers add that additional studies may lead to better understanding of how a mother's diet before and during pregnancy influences her metabolism during pregnancy, which may have implications for the baby's health at birth, and later in life. They also point out that this type of study requires confirmation by a clinical trial. For more information on the study visit www.nichd.nih.gov. For details on gestational diabetes, visit the website ndep.nih.gov. For NIH Radio, this is Joe Balintfy— NIH...Turning Discovery Into Health®
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Joe Balintfy
Sound Bite: Dr. Cuilin Zhang, Dr. Katherine Bowers.
Topic: fat, animal fat, cholesterol, gestational diabetes, pregnancy, diet
Additional Info: High animal fat diet increases gestational diabetes risk