Gestational Diabetes Diet Plan – Foods to Eat and to Avoid!

Gestational Diabetes Diet Plan

The problem with diabetes and pregnancy can be summed up simply as inconvenient. Gestational diabetes is a condition that can affect up to ten percent of expecting women, and is caused by an imbalance in hormones that can lead to less insulin production. The good news is that the condition is almost always temporary, and gestational diabetes blood sugar levels almost always return right back to normal following the baby’s delivery. The bad news is that a period that is normally characterized by strange food cravings and overindulgence as the term “eating for two” becomes synonymous with just about every meal, becomes subject to rules and regulations in order to help properly manage the temporary metabolic condition. However, a gestational diabetes diet plan does not have to be horrible. Adding in certain foods and removing others is a great start. And, with the help of a doctor and dietitian, an ideal gestational diabetes diet plan can be created and tailored to size, activity level and food likes and dislikes.

Despite what we now know about gestational diabetes, we are rather in the dark in terms of the underlying causes. The fetus supporting placenta is what provides some of the hormones that a growing baby needs, but these hormones can have a detrimental effect on the mother’s own hormone supply. The action of the mother’s insulin can be blocked by the placenta-based hormones, which can lead to gestational diabetes. As with all types of diabetes, this insulin related effects in turn results in higher than normal amounts of glucose to build up in the blood. Treatment varies depending on how severe the condition is and usually includes a gestational diabetes diet plan, and often medications or insulin.

Regardless of whether or not diabetes is present, there are actually a lot of benefits to sticking to the best diabetic diet as recommended by experts. This is because the diets typically consist of only fresh, whole produce, lean meats, low fat dairy products, and lots of whole grains. The best diabetic diet incorporates these items in lieu of overly processed or refined foods that may lack nutrition and contain far too many empty calories. Interestingly enough, this diet is considered not very different at all from a regular, healthy diet that is recommended for all individuals, regardless of health status or condition. Therefore, it is safe to assume that it is not only an acceptable gestational diabetes diet plan, but one that might be worth continuing after delivery for better overall health.

So what might a gestational diabetes diet menu look like? Well, it would include the hallmark items that are characteristic of other diabetes diets, but would certainly include a few more calories and omit some foods that are not normally recommended for pregnant women anyways. While a raw food diet for diabetes might be suitable for some people, pregnant women with the gestational form of the condition need nutritional value from all the food groups and in varying quantities for optimal health. This means that fruits, veggies or both should appear at every meal, and lean sources of protein added in at appropriate opportunities. A gestational diabetes diet plan should include three reasonable sized meals and between two and four snacks each day, depending on total caloric intake. Carbohydrates should be complex carbs, but less carbs than are normally consumed (and, complex carbs should be consumed alongside proteins whenever possible to sustain a sensation of fullness. High fiber beans, whole grain breads, vegetables and fruits should be staple side dishes at a minimum, and included regularly.

Specific foods that make excellent choices on a gestational diabetes diet plan include dried peas and beans, spinach and broccoli, brown rice and bran cereals, fresh pineapple, plums, apples and peaches along with other fruits and lots of leafy greens. Lean meats including even some red meat depending on fat content are also good choices, as are very low fat dairy products. But, remember that some dairy can be problematic on a gestational diabetes diet plan, because its lactose is considered a simple sugar. Pregnant women need calcium however, so finding a secondary source is important.

Just as there are foods to add more of in a gestational diabetes diet plan, there are some that should be excluded. Soda drinks, white breads and other overly processed items from the bread group that are mostly comprised of blood sugar elevating white flour are good examples. Additionally, flavored teas, waters and desserts are also not recommended. Overly fatty foods are also not appropriate on a diet for someone with gestational diabetes, nor are candies, many fruit juices and sports drinks.

Gestational diabetes can be a scary condition, but it is almost always temporary. It is often easily managed, but does require some commitment in terms of diet and exercise to fully manage properly and reduce the risk of complications and birth defects. A conversation with a health care provider and nutritionist or dietitian is the best way to structure a gestational diabetes diet plan, which can be fully customizable to the individual needs of the expecting mother.