British Nutrition Foundation boss says no need to amend diet advice following research into gestational diabetes

The head of the British Nutrition Foundation Professor Judith Buttriss has said there is no need to change current UK dietary advice following research published in the British Medical Journal which suggested eating large amounts of potatoes can increase a woman's chances of suffering diabetes during pregnancy.

image: Max Straeten
image: Max Straeten

The US researchers looked at 15,632 women with no history of diabetes, who over a ten-year period had a total 21,693 pregnancies, and in 854 cases were diagnosed with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM).

"After adjustment for age, parity, and dietary and non-dietary factors, women who consumed more potatoes before pregnancy had higher rates of developing GDM," they concluded, and suggested that eating other vegetables, legumes, and whole-grain foods instead would lower the risk.

But Buttriss who is director general of the BNF said: "It's important to recognise that the main nutrition-related determinant of GDM is pre-pregnancy body weight where the risk far exceeds the level of risk reported in the paper from potato consumption."

She added: "The strength of the evidence does not warrant a change in current UK advice, which is a varied diet providing starchy foods, choosing wholegrains and potatoes with skins where possible to increase fibre, as well as plenty of vegetables and fruit. Other lifestyle factors such as physical activity are also important."


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