It is no surprise that consistent over-consumption of sugars can lead to diabetes. Therefore, it makes sense that the same eating habits can produce gestational diabetes during pregnancy.

The problem is that we forget or are unaware of where sugar comes from.

In the most recent study published and featured prominently on BBC news channels, potato rich diets claimed to be linked to an increased risk of gestational diabetes. In no way do I find this surprising as potatoes are starchy carbohydrates.


Unfortunately, many women don’t know just how heavy a ‘carb – load’ potatoes carry.

So, how to avoid diabetes risk and weight gain during pregnancy?

At least 3 days of moderate exercise a week

If you don’t exercise at a moderate to moderately hard rate at least three days a week, your body isn’t utilizing this excessive sugar for fuel, so it sits in your bloodstream waiting to be stored as fat. As mentioned in my previous articles, there are safe ways of exercising whilst pregnant – it can even prepare your body for labor!

No woman intentionally wants to gain excessive pregnancy weight but there just isn’t enough literature on how to properly fuel, with additional calories, that won’t cause weight gain. Until now.

Swap carbohydrate-heavy foods for fat and vegetables 

If pregnant women need to increase calories and avoid weight gain, swap carbohydrate heavy foods like potatoes, bread and pasta for fat and vegetables. This way, you cut down on the carb-heavy diet and increase the intake of essential vitamins and minerals for you and your baby.

Fat you say? Yes!

Whole, healthy sources of fat like coconut oil, cheese, grass-fed butter, lard, and heavy cream are easy ways to ingest calories without excessive sugar and spiking insulin (which causes energy crashes).

Avocados and raw nuts are also great sources of fat but they also contain more carbohydrates than you might think.

Researchers suggest women swap potatoes for vegetables, which is a great idea!

Except I heed the warning that vegetables aren’t as calorically dense. Make sure you melt at least a tablespoon of grass-fed butter or coconut oil over your veggies to ensure you’re achieving your calorie requirement per day.

gestational diabetes pregnancy_2How much fat, protein and carbohydrates should women consume?

If you aren’t sure how much you’re consuming, use a food tracker. There are several out there including WatchFit plans that allow your to log and picture all your foods. And soemthign like My Fitness Pal helps to see how much fat, protein and carbohydrates you’re ingesting.

Women, pregnant or not, should aim to get 40-50% of their calories from fat, 20-30% from protein and the rest from carbohydrates.

If you find your energy is low, you feel sluggish, up your carbohydrates 5-10%.

Switching to a lower carbohydrate, higher fat and vegetable diet will support a healthier lifestyle and increase your chance of having a normal pregnancy without complications or abnormal diagnosis.

This diet also supports optimal growth of your fetus which absorbs everything you consume as well.

If you need help sorting through your diet, eating for a healthy pregnancy and motherhood, or exercising safely through pregnancy, please contact me through my Expert Page.

Connect with Expert Colleen Flaherty

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Pollyanna Hale Health and Lifestyle coaches
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