fried food
Results showed that consumption of fried food items seven times a week more than doubled risk of gestational diabetes in women.peace6x/Flickr

Eating habits of a woman before conception plays an important role in her pregnancy health.

Highlighting this point, a new study found that regular consumption of fried food before pregnancy increased the risk of gestational diabetes in women.

Gestational diabetes is a term used to describe the development of high blood sugar during pregnancy. It is crucial to manage this condition as it can pose serious risks to both the baby and the mother. The pregnancy-related condition has been linked to preterm birth, stillbirth, high birth weight, hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar), jaundice and seizures in babies.

Though the condition is temporary and disappears after giving birth, women who have suffered from this condition are at seven times higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes in their life than women who haven't experienced the condition during pregnancy.

The study looked at 15, 027 women part of the Nurses' Health Study II (NHS II) cohort and their 21,079 singleton pregnancies. As part of the study, the women completed a health and lifestyle questionnaire every two years. Researchers also recorded prevalence of fried food consumption among the women, mainly French fries, fried chicken, fried fish; either at home or outside.

During the 10 years follow-up period of the study, researchers came across nearly 847 cases of gestational diabetes.

Results showed that consumption of fried food items seven times a week more than doubled the risk of gestational diabetes in women.

The results remained unchanged even after role of different body mass index (BMI) in this occurrence was analysed. Women who consumed fried food seven times had 88 percent increased risk of developing gestational diabetes compared to those who consumed fried food very few times. The risk was greatest when women consumed fried food outside home. This may be due to the reuse of oils in restaurants, the authors said.

"The potential detrimental effects of fried food consumption on GDM risk may result from the modification of foods and frying medium and generation of harmful by-products during the frying process. Frying deteriorates oils through the processes of oxidation and hydrogenation, leading to an increase in the absorption of oil degradation products by the foods being fried, and also a loss of unsaturated fatty acids such as linoleic and linolenic acids and an increase in the corresponding trans fatty acids such as trans-linoleic acids and trans-linolenic acids," the authors said in a news release.

"Frying also results in significantly higher levels of dietary advanced glycation end products (AGEs), the derivatives of glucose-protein or glucose-lipid interactions. Recently, AGEs have been implicated in insulin resistance, pancreatic beta-cell damage, and diabetes, partly because they promote oxidative stress and inflammation. Moreover, intervention studies with a diet low in AGEs have shown significantly improved insulin sensitivity, reduced oxidant stress, and alleviated inflammation."

Results of the study have been reported in Diabetologia.