Eat less #red meat and more vegetable protein before and during #pregnancy

New research has shown that eating red meat significantly raises the risk for developing gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM).  The same research, which is part of the Nurses Health study, also showed that eating nuts reduces the risk. 

The researched analysed food intake questionnaires of the women before they were pregnant and then a subsample that had developed GDM.  It was found that a higher consumption of animal protein was associated with significantly increased GDM risk, while higher vegetable protein intake was associated with significantly reduced risk. In fact eating more red meat doubled the risk for those who ate the most red meat compared to those that ate the least.

Previous studies have suggested that high-protein diets can adversely affect glucose metabolism and meat consumption in particular has been found to be associated with health problems such as long-term weight gain, type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease and stroke.

Nuts, on the other hand, are a good source of vegetable protein, are rich in mono- and polyunsaturated fats, fibre, and magnesium, and have a low glycemic index, all of which have been associated with improved insulin sensitivity and a reduced risk for type 2 diabetes.

The authors of the study suggested that for women who may become pregnant it was a good idea to eat more vegetable protein than animal protein, such as swapping some red meat for nuts, legumes, poultry, and fish.

Diabetes Care. Published online February 1, 2013. Abstract

Eds note: This study does not mean you can’t eat some red meat while pregnant or pre-pregnancy.  Many women can be anaemic and develop anaemia while pregnant and lower iron levels can put the foetus at risk.  Red meat is a good source of iron that’s well absorbed


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