Of all the existing pregnancy diets, there is one that differs in many respects from what one would expect for a woman’s diet in pregnancy. That is the gestational diabetes diet. It is the diet that should be followed by any pregnant diabetic patients. It is a diet based on a whole new way to classify foods.
In the gestational diabetes diet, much like any average diet, foods become assigned a region of the “food pyramid.” However, in the gestational diabetes diet, those assigned sections in the food pyramid denote each food’s protein and carbohydrate content. In that pyramid cheese shares with meat the same section of the pyramid.
That approach to food classification differs quite a bit from the classification scheme used for most pregnancy diets. For most women a diet in pregnancy uses the same food classification scheme as the generally-used food pyramid. In that more-familiar pyramid, the foods are classed in a way that encourages a higher intake of fruits, vegetables and complex carbohydrates. In that pyramid, cheese shares with milk and milk substitutes a single section of the food pyramid. The foods with milk share with the foods in the meat group one of two sections in one band of the food pyramid.
The gestational diabetes diet is intended to present a scheme that makes the carbohydrate content of foods the same for any given serving. According to the gestational diabetes diet, a one-half cup portion of fruit juice equals one serving. According to the gestational diabetes diet, a one-third cup portion of pasta equals a single serving. A pregnant woman might, therefore, choose to eat a larger portion of a starchy vegetable, instead of a eating only a limited amount of pasta.
Pregnancy diets have changed considerably in the past thirty years. Thirty years ago, an overweight woman who became pregnant might be put on a diet that would have her loosing weight. By the early 1990’s, the health textbooks indicated that loss of weight during pregnancy should be avoided. According to such textbooks, a woman should be allowed to experience some level of weight gain during the course of her pregnancy.
Some special pregnancy diets have yet to be created. It may be, for example, that pregnant women with a ventricular-peritoneal shunt should have a special diet during the final 2-3 months of their pregnancy. At UCLA hospital one such woman got very sick during her 7th month. The hospital then chose to feed the growing fetus in that woman nothing but glucose and water for a 24-hour period. Eight weeks later, when the woman gave birth to a son, he was noticeably underweight.