More than 30% of pregnant women in Spain are diagnosed with gestational diabetes during pregnancy and this is reflected in the health of the mother and the newborn. In this case, the EVOO could be a great ally in its prevention and in improving the health of newborns.

According to Dr. Alfonso Calle Pascual, who has led the San Carlos Study for the Prevention of Gestational Diabetes, with the participation of the Center for Biomedical Research in Diabetes Network and Associated Metabolic Diseases (CIBERDEM) and funded by the Carlos III Institute, “Gestational diabetes is defined as the alteration of glucose regulation that first appears during pregnancy. It is associated with an increased risk of disease of the mother: more infections occur, gestational hypertension, eclampsia, also increases the prevalence of prematurity in childbirth, increasing the rate of cesarean sections and, in the newborn, favors the appearance of What we call the Diabetic Mother Newborn Syndrome, which manifests itself with low levels of red blood cells, glucose, potassium and calcium in the child’s blood”.

This is an obvious public health problem (each year it affects more than 100,000 Spaniards), for which the team of researchers proposed a new approach, from a healthy diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil and nuts.

To this end, a study was started among 1,000 healthy pregnant women that has just culminated with the publication of the results in the prestigious scientific journal Plos One. It confirms that the incidence of diabetes was reduced by 30% in the group of pregnant women fed without restrictions with extra virgin olive oil and nuts. In addition, the need for insulin treatment was halved. At the same time, there was a significant reduction in the rates of prematurity, urgent caesarean sections, urinary tract infections and perineal traumas in the mother and also of small and large newborns for gestational age. It should also be noted that mothers did not gain more weight during pregnancy.

Dr. Calle Pascual argues that studies like this will impose a change in the way of addressing this disease worldwide: “I believe that there is already enough scientific evidence to justify the universal recommendation of the consumption of extra virgin olive oil during pregnancy . The problem is that it still persists, because of the influence of the Anglo-Saxon world, the belief that the healthiest diet is low in total fat content. Fortunately, the Predimed Study is changing the recommendations and it is encouraging the consumption of olive oils”.