Pregnant women who follow a nutritious meal plan are less likely to develop gestational diabetes compared to those with an unhealthy diet, latest research suggests.

Academics from the University of Turku and Turku University Hospitals analysed more than 350 overweight females to assess the relationship between gestational diabetes and food consumption.

During the trial, each participant filled in a daily food log to outline their dietary intake, and were later ranked depending on the quality and inflammatory potential of their diet.

Senior author, Lotta Pajunen said: “Our research results show that following a healthy diet in early pregnancy reduces the risk of gestational diabetes.”

According to the findings, the participants who scored more points on the dietary inflammatory index were more likely to have gestational diabetes.

In addition, consuming a high quantity of fats was also linked to the development of gestational diabetes, with saturated fats escalating inflammation in the body, the results reported.

Fellow researcher, Professor Kirsi Laitinen said: “Eating vegetables, fruit, berries, and wholegrain products as well as unsaturated fats is particularly important.

“These nutrients and foods reduce inflammation in the body and therefore also the risk of gestational diabetes.”

She added: “Mothers who are overweight or obese already before the pregnancy would most likely benefit from dietary guidance in early pregnancy.”

Prior studies have revealed that an alarming number of pregnant women are overweight, with obesity known to trigger the development of gestational diabetes.

The full set of results can now be accessed in the European Journal of Nutrition.

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