High Animal Fat Diet, a Diabetes risk

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 30th January 2012

A research conducted by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and Harvard University has found that women who consumed a diet high in animal fat and cholesterol before pregnancy were at higher risk for gestational diabetes.

Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes seen during pregnancy that increases the risk for certain pregnancy complications and health problems in the newborn.

Moreover, the increased risk for gestational diabetes seen with animal fat and cholesterol appeared to be independent of other, dietary and non-dietary, risk factors for gestational diabetes.

“Our findings indicate that women who reduce the proportion of animal fat and cholesterol in their diets before pregnancy may lower their risk for gestational diabetes during pregnancy,” said senior author Cuilin Zhang, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., of the Epidemiology Branch at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), one of three NIH institutes supporting the study.

The researchers found that changing the source of 5 percent of dietary calories from animal fat to plant-derived sources could decrease a woman’s risk for gestational diabetes by 7 percent.

The researchers utilised information from more than 13,000 women participating in the Nurses’ Health Study II. The women were 22 to 45 years old when they enrolled in the study. Every two years they responded to questions on their general health, pregnancy status, and lifestyle habits, such as consuming alcohol or smoking. In addition, every four years they completed a comprehensive survey about the kinds of food and drink they consumed.

They also observed that women in the highest quintile for cholesterol consumption were 45 percent more likely to develop gestational diabetes than were women in the lowest quintile.

The findings appear online in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.