Eating potatoes could be linked to diabetes in pregnancy, according to the latest research in the USA.
The study was carried out by US-based researchers in the BMJ journal. It suggested that if a woman has consumed a higher number of potatoes before becoming pregnant, the risk of her developing diabetes during her pregnancy will increase.
It also suggested that the risk could be lowered if a woman substituted potatoes for other vegetables such as peas, beans and lentils, or wholegrain foods.
Researchers from Eunice Kennedy Shriver institute and Harvard University spent 10 years tracking women who became pregnant from 2001 – 2011. A total of 15,632 women were involved in the study.
They assessed the food that the women consumed, including potatoes, every four years.
During the ten year study period the researchers recorded 21,693 singleton pregnancies. A total of 854 women were affected by gestational diabetes.
The researchers took several risk factors into account and found that higher potato consumption was significantly linked to the risk of developing gestational diabetes.
The risk was between 9-12% lower if potatoes were substituted for other vegetables, legumes, or wholegrain foods for two servings per week.
Gestational diabetes is a common complication for women during pregnancy. It can lead to long term health risks to both the mother and her baby.
However, it is the first time that potato consumption has been linked to the risk of developing the illness.
Potatoes are recommended by US dietary guidelines. They are included in the guideline’s vegetable food group and consumption of potatoes is encouraged.
However, there have also been studies in the past which have warned that the starch content in potatoes could have a detrimental effect on blood sugar levels.