Eating Red Meat Puts Pregnant Women At Risk Of Gestational Diabetes

Red Meat

Pregnant women who eat red meat or processed meat are at a greater risk of getting gestational diabetes.

There is increasing evidence that shows red meat consumption during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of gestational diabetes.

Red Meat Ups Gestational Diabetes Risk:

Despite red meat being delicious, several studies have linked red meat to a number of health issues including obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease. Now, scientists based at the University of Adelaides Robinson Institute are cautioning women who hope to become pregnant about the dangers of consuming excess red meat.

Researchers warn that pregnant women as well as women looking to have a baby who consume plenty of red meat or processed meat may be at increased risk of contracting gestational diabetes.

What Is Gestational Diabetes?

Gestational diabetes occurs when the body is unable to produce and make use of all the insulin that it requires for pregnancy. Without adequate insulin, glucose in the blood cannot be converted to energy. This leads to a high glucose build up in your blood called hyperglycaemia.

Gestational diabetes develops when pregnant women who normally don’t have either type 1 or 2 diabetes get the condition typically during week 24, causing a spike in their blood-glucose levels.


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Poorly controlled or untreated gestational diabetes can harm the baby. In pregnant women with gestational diabetes, the pancreas works overtime in order to make insulin, but the insulin doesn’t reduce the blood glucose levels. While insulin doesn’t go through the placenta, glucose as well as other nutrients do. Therefore, extra blood glucose crosses the placenta, leading to an increase in the baby’s blood glucose levels. This makes the babys pancreas to produce extra insulin to remove the blood glucose. As the baby is receiving more energy than what it requires to grow and develop, this surplus energy gets stored as fat.

Gestational diabetes could result in increased storage of fat by the unborn baby leading to macrosomia or a heavy baby. A fat baby can lead to health complications both during and after birth.

Gestational Diabetes Diet:

While several reports have linked red meat with a heightened risk of developing type 2 diabetes, researchers now reveal this link for diabetes in pregnant women. While this news comes as a shocker, there are also few positives. Latest studies have shown that eating poultry and fish doesn’t raise the risk of gestational diabetes, and eating more non-meat protein and vegetables is linked to a decline in risk.

Women who consume plenty of red meat/processed meat before they get pregnant face a higher risk of gestational diabetes. Red meat also heightens risk during pregnancy. However, changing diets could lower ones risk. For instance, researchers have found that a daily consumption of nuts (half a serving) could cut ones risk of gestational diabetes by 40%.

Pregnant women should change their diet and lifestyle behaviour to prevent gestational as well as type 2 diabetes. Pregnant women or those planning to get pregnant ought to eat more nuts and vegetable protein, and replace some red meat with poultry and fish.