Weight loss after gestational diabetes can prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. However, finding the most effective way to lose weight and keeping it off can be challenging for new mothers. Now new research offers hope to fight the bulge.
New research by the University of South Australia suggests the popular intermittent fasting diet, also known as the 5:2 diet, could possibly be as effective as restrictive dieting, enabling women with a greater choice and flexibility when it comes to weight loss.
One in five pregnancies are affected by gestational diabetes globally, placing these women at a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
Cutting calories is easier
According to researchers women who have had gestational diabetes and are also overweight, are at an even higher risk. Type 2 diabetes has lifelong consequences and can lead to other chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
The 5:2 diet allows five days of normal eating each week while substantially restricting calories over two days a week, as opposed to a typical diet that requires moderate energy restrictions daily.
Lead researcher Dr Kristy Gray says the findings will be greatly welcomed by women looking to lose weight.
“Healthy eating and regular physical activity are recommended to manage gestational diabetes, with continuous energy restriction diets or diets that cut calories by 25-30% being the most common strategy for weight loss and diabetes prevention,” says Gray.
“The 5:2 diet may provide a less overwhelming option. As it only cuts calories over two days, some women may find it easier to adopt and adhere to, as opposed to a consistently low calorie diet requiring constant management.
“Our research shows that the 5:2 diet is just as effective at achieving weight loss as a continuous energy-restricted diet in women who have had gestational diabetes, which is great, because it provides women with greater choice and control.
“Of course, women should seek advice from a health professional before commencing with this type of diet, to make sure that it is suitable for them.”
The research investigated the effects of both the 5:2 diet (five days of normal eating and two days of 500 calories) and a continuous energy-restricted diet (1500 calories per day) on weight loss and diabetes risk markers in women with a previous diagnosis of gestational diabetes. Both diets restricted energy by approximately 25% each week.