If you’ve been diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes (GD), even if you’re prescribed medication, reworking your diet will be top priority. Here are the expert tips on how to manage your eating plan.
Gestational diabetes can develop when the placenta produces hormones called human placental lactogen (HPL), which inhibit the body’s ability to produce insulin. Insulin assists the body’s absorption of glucose, so when insulin levels plummet, blood sugar spikes. The key, then, is to maintain a healthy blood sugar level—and this can usually be achieved through wise food choices.
Jo Paterson, founder of Gestational Diabetes UK, lists the ‘8 golden rules’ that help to keep blood glucose levels on an even keel:
- Eat little and often; think 3 meals and 3 snacks in between
- ‘Pair’ carbs with protein and natural fats to slow down sugar absorption in the blood
- Eat plenty protein
- Eat good, natural fats
- Eat small amounts of unrefined complex starchy carbohydrates at every meal
- Pump up your veggie intake at every meal
- Drink lots of water
- Go for a walk
Foods to avoid primarily include those that have a high glycaemic index—they spike blood sugar levels. Usually, high GI foods will be processed, containing refined sugar and refined carbs:
- white flour
- white bread
- processed cereal, including puffed rice and corn flakes
- white rice
- some fruits, including bananas—opt for less ripe, greener bananas.
Good GI Foods:
These include starchier foods which release energy slower.
- dried beans, pulses and lentils
- many vegetables, including sweet potato, peas, legumes
- wholegrain breads
- some wholegrain cereals and porridges
- wholemeal pasta
- most fruits
- basmati rice, quinoa and bulgur wheat