A new study, published in the journal PLOS Medicine, now says that women who follow a Mediterranean-style diet during pregnancy may have a lower risk of gestational diabetes.

Notably, gestational diabetes is first seen in a pregnant woman who did not have diabetes before she was pregnant.

The study found that women who followed a Mediterranean-style diet during pregnancy had a 35 per cent lower risk of gestational diabetes and on average gained 2.75 pounds less, compared to women who received standard prenatal care.

The research was conducted using a sample of 1,252 multi-ethnic inner-city pregnant women with metabolic risk factors, including obesity and chronic hypertension, according to The Week.

Apart from receiving folic acid and vitamin D supplementation, the women were randomly assigned to either a Mediterranean-style diet or a control group that received dietary advice per UK national recommendations for prenatal care and weight management during pregnancy.

Those following the Mediterranean diet were given a daily portion of nuts, including 15 gms of walnuts, 7.5 gms of almonds, 7.5 gms of hazelnuts and consumed food cooked in extra virgin olive oil.

The diet also emphasised fruit, vegetables, non-refined grains and legumes; moderate to high consumption of fish; small to moderate intake of poultry and dairy products; low intake of red meat and processed meat; and avoidance of sugary drinks, fast food, and food rich in animal-based fat.

Researchers measured dietary compliance from participants and assessed the effect of Mediterranean diet on other pregnancy complications such as high blood pressure, preeclampsia, stillbirth, small for gestational age fetus, or admission to a neonatal care unit, but did not find any significant associations.

Commenting on the same, researchers, according to A Market Journal have said, “Future examinations ought to evaluate the impact of in utero introduction to Mediterranean-style diet, especially to nuts and olive oil, on youth weight, hypersensitivity and asthma, and on mother’s future danger of sort 2 diabetes.”