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Gestational Diabetes Diet

Gestational diabetes treatment should start with diet therapy. Doctors often treat gestational diabetes with a diabetic diet and exercise alone. They should initiate MNT with three nutrition counseling sessions within one week of a GDM diagnosis. Some research shows gestational diabetes diet reduces insulin use, hospital admissions, risk of perinatal complications and raises the possibility of normal placental and fetal growth. Then if diet therapy does not help, you may need to take oral medication or inject insulin to lower your blood sugar.

Gestational Diabetes Diet Guidelines

The number of calories you should consume per day depends on several factors, such as your weight and physical activity rate. Pregnant women should consume 300 calories more in the 2nd trimester and 450 calories in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy than the pre-pregnancy diet. Since carbohydrates increase your blood sugar levels, mothers with gestational diabetes should cut down on carbohydrates and pay more attention to them. They also should make sure they still eat a balanced diet and get enough fiber and nutrients.
Other advice for a mother with gestational diabetes is to eat at least one or more snacks and three small to moderate-sized meals every day. Eating smaller meals more often can help you control your blood sugar levels. If you eat very much at one time, it can cause your blood sugar to increase too much. Don't skip snacks and meals. Keep your blood sugar stable by Keeping the types and amount of food (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats) the same as you eat every day.
We also suggest that pregnant women take a prenatal multivitamin, calcium, folic acid, and iron supplement. So, you can meet the higher requirements of some minerals and vitamins during pregnancy. It also helps your baby grow normally.
Be sure to consult with your physician or dietitian before taking any supplement.
The exact dietary changes depend on many factors, including how much physical activity she has, how much the woman weighs, the number of fetuses, disease, etc. Get more recommendations from a nutritionist or dietitian to avoid adverse effects. Make sure your body receives sufficient calories and certain nutrients in pregnancy. Following a restricted diet while pregnant is not safe. Follow a gestational diabetes diet even if you need diabetes medication to keep blood glucose levels both in your body and your child in control.

Managing Gestational Diabetes with Diet

There are some dietary points that you should make to manage gestational diabetes, so if you want to control your blood sugar, follow the below points in your gestational diabetes diet:

1. Consume simple carbohydrates such as cereals, white rice, white bread, refined flour, etc., in a limited amount.

2. Use controlled amounts of carbohydrate foods in your diet at every snack and meal.

Choose lower glycemic index (GI) options such as brown rice, rolled oats, yogurt, milk, natural muesli, and grainy bread. The glycemic index (GI) shows how quickly different foods containing carbs change your blood sugar levels after eating them. Some foods have a high GI and change blood sugars levels fast. Low GI foods take longer to affect blood sugar levels. If you choose lower GI food, you still should care about your portion sizes because the number of carbs in foods will affect your blood sugar levels the most. All low GI foods aren't healthy. Read food labels and choose healthy options. Eating mostly low-GI foods can help you control your blood sugar. But they are not always good for you. For example, a cup of brown rice and a candy bar has the same GI value. But their nutritional value is different.

3. Add fibers into meals that cause better digestion and lower the risk of increasing blood sugar.

4. Reduce free sugar intake.

Simple ways to reduce sugar consumption:
• Drink water, skimmed or semi-skimmed milk, or decaffeinated tea and coffee instead of sugary drinks, energy drinks, and fruit juices.
• Don't add sugar, honey, or syrup to your foods.
• Rather than using sugar, use low or zero-calorie sweeteners, known as artificial sweeteners.
• Eat fewer sugary foods and simple carbohydrates like chocolates, cakes, biscuits, and ice cream.
• Sugar has other names on the food label like glucose, sucrose, fructose, dextrose, maltose, lactose, honey, syrup, invert sugar, molasses, and corn sweetener.
• Consume artificial sweeteners rather than added sugars. Aspartame, Acesulfame K, Sucralose, and Stevia are some approved sweeteners that are harmless during pregnancy.

5. Care about fruit portions and limit them

Fruits are healthy foods, yet they are high in natural sugars. You may have two to three servings of fruit per day but eat only one at a time. A serving of fruit is either half of a large piece of fruit, a small amount of fruit, or about one-half cup of different fruit. Do not consume fruits that are canned in syrup.

6. Avoid fruit juice

Fruit juices can cause raise blood sugar fast since it takes several fruits to make a glass of juice. So, they are a concentrated source of carbohydrates, and you should avoid them in the gestational diabetic diet.

7. Choose skinless chicken, lean meats, and low-fat dairy to limit foods high in saturated fat.

8. Use healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado, seeds, and unsalted nuts.

10. Don't forget low-fat dairy, drink skimmed milk or low yogurt as snacks.

Dairies contain carbohydrates, and overeating at one time can increase your blood sugar. But it is an excellent source of calcium, and you should use them in your diet.

11. Breakfast matters. Please don't skip it, and have a healthy breakfast.

It isn't easy to control blood sugar in the morning because of common variations in hormone levels. If your post-breakfast blood sugar level increases too much after having fruits, refined cereals, and even milk, you should not eat them for your breakfast. Then try complex carbs with protein.

12. Plan for your snack

Don't choose simple carbs like biscuits, cake, chocolate, and crisps as a snack. Unsalted nuts, seeds, unsweetened yogurt, fruit, and vegetables are better choices.

13. Eat more fish

Try to eat fish regularly. The recommendation is to eat at least twice a week, including one portion of oily fish. But don't have more than two portions a week since they may have low levels of toxins. One portion of oily fish is almost 140g of sardines, mackerel, salmon, trout, pilchards, or herrings. Oily fishes are very beneficial for heart health.
Fishes like sharks, swordfish, and marlin tend to have high levels of mercury. Avoid eating more than four medium-sized cans of tuna, or two tuna steaks a week, since they can have high amounts of mercury.

14. Keep food records

To control your carbohydrate intake, record all the foods and the amount you eat every day.

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