Pre-Pregnancy Potatoes In Diet Linked To Higher Gestational Diabetes Risk

Cuilin Zhang MD, PhD Senior Investigator, Epidemiology Branch Division of Intramural Population Health Research NICHD/National Institutes of Health Rockville, MD 20852

Dr. Cuilin Zhang

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Cuilin Zhang MD, PhD

Senior Investigator, Epidemiology Branch
Division of Intramural Population Health Research
NICHD/National Institutes of Health
Rockville, MD 20852

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Zhang: Potatoes are the third most commonly consumed food crop in the world. In the United States, about 35% of women of reproductive age consume potatoes daily, accounting for 8% of daily total energy intake. Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a common complication of pregnancy characterized by glucose intolerance with onset or first recognition during pregnancy. GDM is at the center of a vicious circle of ‘diabetes begets diabetes’ across generations. Potato foods are typically higher in glycemic index and glycemic load, but data are lacking regarding whether potato consumption is associated with the risk of Gestational diabetes mellitus.

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Zhang: Women who eat more potatoes before pregnancy may have higher risk of gestational diabetes—the form of diabetes that occurs or first diagnosed during pregnancy—compared to women who consume fewer potatoes. Substituting potatoes with other vegetables, legumes or whole grains may help lower gestational diabetes risk.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Zhang: Potatoes may not be regarded as healthy vegetables as they are rich in starchy, especially when being consumed at a high levels. They can significantly lead to deteriorated glucose response and a higher risk of diabetes in pregnancy when the consumption levels are high.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Zhang: : Gestational diabetes in a common pregnancy complication and it is at the center of a vicious circle of ‘ diabetes begets diabetes’ across generations. Healthful diet and lifestyle may not only improve the health of women but also the next generation. Thus far, studies on diet during pregnancy and its impacts on women and offspring health are limited. More research endeavors in this regard are warranted.

Citation:

Bao W, Tobias DK, Hu FB, Chavarro JE, and Zhang C. Pre-pregnancy potato consumption and risk of gestational diabetes mellitus: prospective cohort study.
BMJ, 2016 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.h6898

Cuilin Zhang MD, PhD (2016). Pre-Pregnancy Potatoes In Diet Linked To Higher Gestational Diabetes Risk