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Gestational Diabetes: Sweet Treats & Lifestyle Changes!

Does this mean I can no longer eat ice cream?

You don’t have to completely deny yourself of sweet treats like ice cream. The key is to enjoy them in moderation, and to exercise portion control. For example, you can have a small scoop of ice cream once in a while.

But, it is always recommended that you do not have desserts like ice cream on an empty stomach, as the sugar gets absorbed faster into your bloodstream causing a spike in your glucose levels. Having frozen low-fat yoghurt is another good alternative to ice cream.

How about bubble tea?

Everyone – not just pregnant mums, or those with gestational diabetes – should limit their intake of drinks with added sugar, such as bubble tea or sodas. Such drinks are considered “empty calories” as they add significantly to your caloric intake, but do not contain any nutrients. All these excess calories you consume can lead to weight gain and adversely impact on your blood glucose levels.

The recommended amount of added sugar per day is no more than eight to 11 teaspoons. This includes sugar which may be found in different foods and drinks, such as cakes, pastries, spreads, coffee and cereals.

Regular bubble tea is quite high in added sugar, and you can easily hit or exceed your daily recommendation with just one drink! A medium-sized 500ml bubble milk tea with pearls and full amount of sugar has approximately eight teaspoons of sugar and 335 calories. The larger 700ml size has about 11 teaspoons of sugar and 470 calories.

Bubble teas and other sweetened drinks should thus be consumed in moderation. Here are some strategies you can try to cut down on your calorie consumption if you like to take bubble tea:

  • Choose the smallest cup available and ask for less sugar (30 per cent or below)

  • Go for no topping

  • Limit to one drink per week

  • Have only half the drink and share it with someone so you don’t feel compelled to finish all of it

What lifestyle and diet changes should I make?

Appropriate management of gestational diabetes with diet, exercise, and/or medications if needed can lower the risk of developing perinatal complications by up to 58%. Here’s a quick summary of how pregnant woman with gestational diabetes can manage their condition through lifestyle modifications.:

Diet / Nutrition

  • Choose high fibre carbohydrate foods more often as these tend to be digested more slowly, causing a slower and lower rise in blood glucose levels. Some examples are wholegrain bread, brown rice, wholemeal pasta, oats and wholegrain cereals.

  • Exhibit portion control on carbohydrate foods; larger portions of carbohydrates will cause larger increases in blood glucose levels

  • Evenly distribute carbohydrate intake throughout the day

  • Limit intake of simple sugar or empty caloric drinks

  • Have healthier protein or calcium based nutritive snacks in between meals instead of snacking on high sugar or carbohydrate foods

How about physical activities?

Try walking for 30 minutes after a meal, or doing low-impact exercises for pregnancy such as swimming. Regular exercise and physical activities can improve blood glucose levels by promoting muscle uptake of glucose and helping to maintain a healthy weight.


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