by Reshma Anand on  November 13, 2015 at 4:07 PM Health In Focus
Gestational Diabetic Women May Benefit With a Soy-Rich Diet
Gestational diabetes is developed in pregnant women during third trimester or the 26th week of pregnancy. It can occur in women who have had no prior symptoms of diabetes. Gestational diabetes can be easily managed with a healthy diet and regular exercise. The complications of gestational diabetes include high blood pressure, a baby with excessive weight, preterm birth and chances of a C-section.

In gestational diabetes, the blood sugar levels usually return to normal after delivery. But in some cases, babies of women with gestational diabetes have a risk of developing type- II diabetes later in their life. Even women having diabetes during pregnancy may have a future diabetes risk.

A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism revealed that a diet rich in soy may lessen the risks of gestational diabetes in pregnant women.

Soy or soya bean is a legume and a good source of plant protein. Soya beans are rich in manganese, selenium, copper, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, calcium, vitamin B6, folate, riboflavin (B2), thiamin (B1) and vitamin K. Foods rich in soy include soy milk, tofu, edamame (Japanese soybeans), roasted soy nuts, soy butter and soy flours. Fermented forms of soy include miso, tempeh and fermented tofu.

Researchers at the Arak University of Medical Sciences in Iran conducted a study to examine the effects of soy intake on the metabolic status of women with Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM).

Researchers analyzed 68 women with gestational diabetes in a six-week clinical trial. All the women were in their 26th week of pregnancy during the start of the study and were followed until their delivery. Participants were randomly separated into two groups namely a soy group and a control group.

Participants in the soy group were given a diet containing 70% animal protein and 30 % soy protein. The participants in the controlled group were given a diet containing 35% animal protein, 35% soy protein and 30% plant protein. The participants followed the diet regimen for a period of six weeks.

After the period, researchers found that the incidence of Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG), serum insulin levels, serum triglycerides was high in the controlled group when compared to the soy group. Also, women in the controlled group had a higher incidence of newborn hyperbilirubinemia and newborn hospitalization when compared with the soy group.

They also found that soy protein consumption led to the significant reduction in blood sugar and insulin levels in the soy group, compared to the other group. The incidence of newborn hyperbilirubinemia and newborn hospitalization also lowered in the soy group.

The lead study author Zatollah Asemi said that soy consumption during pregnancy will not cause any harm to the mother and the baby. Though, women who participated in the study did not have any side effects after consuming a soy-rich diet. She acknowledged that pregnant women should not change their diet without consulting their gynecologist.


1. Mehri Jamilian and Zatollah Asemi, Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, School of Medicine, Arak University of Medical Sciences, Arak, Iran (M.J.), Research Center for Biochemistry and Nutrition in Metabolic Diseases, Kashan University of Medical Sciences, Kashan, I.R. Iran, paper titled "The effect of soy intake on metabolic profiles of women with gestational diabetes mellitus," Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, DOI:

Source: Medindia

Most Popular on Medindia