February 13, 2016
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Diabetes Prevention (cont.)

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Is gestational diabetes a risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life?

The simple answer is yes.

The risk for type 2 diabetes is higher in women who have had gestational diabetes (diabetes of pregnancy). In general, type 2 diabetes will occur in about 40% of women with gestational diabetes over the following 10 years. This number increases to the 50% range if obesity is present.

There are efforts underway to see if treating women with gestational diabetes (using lifestyle, and medications such as thiazolidinediones) can change the course of development of type 2 diabetes. The results appear promising, and further work is being done to identify who will potentially respond to treatment.

Diabetes prevention and diet

Diet becomes a critical issue when dealing with disease processes. When exploring dietary factors as a contributor to disease processes one must take a number of things into account, for example, is it the food itself or the weight gain associated with its consumption that is the risk? Is it the food, or the age/lifestyle of those consuming it that is the risk? While cinnamon, coffee, and fenugreek seeds are among the many food products that some feel are associated with development/prevention of diabetes, none of these have truly been fully scientifically evaluated. The food patterns mentioned below have been adequately studied, and the results are independent of weight, age, physical activity, and family history. Therefore, with these nutritional topics, it truly looks like the results are related to the specific foods themselves.

A "Western" diet vs. a "healthy" diet

In a study of over 42,000 men, diets high in red meat, processed meat, high fat dairy products, and sweets were associated with an increased risk of diabetes by almost two times that of those eating a "healthy" diet. Again, this is independent of weight gain and other factors mentioned previously.

Dairy foods

The data on dairy products seems to vary, depending if the person is obese or not. In obese individuals, the more dairy consumed, the lower the risk for the metabolic syndrome. Specifically, those consuming more than 35 servings of dairy foods a week had a much lower risk compared to those consuming less than 10 servings a week. Interestingly, this association is not as strong in lean individuals.


Sugar consumption alone has not been associated with the development of type 2 diabetes. There is of course, weight gain associated with sugar consumption. However, after adjusting for weight gain and other variables, there appears to be a relationship between drinking sugar-laden beverages and the development of type 2 diabetes. Women who drink one or more of these drinks a day have almost twice the risk of developing diabetes than women who drink one a month or less.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/11/2014

Source: MedicineNet.com

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