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Gestational Diabetes and Glucose Testing

Rather than solely focusing on gestational diabetes and its effects on moms and babies, this post will focus on glucose testing(usually done between 24 and 28 weeks) and the safer alternatives than the test recommended by most O.B.s.

What is gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a high blood glucose (high blood sugar) that develops during pregnancy. With routine prenatal care provided in the United States (U.S.), most people drink "Glucola" as part of a screening test before diagnosing gestational diabetes. In other parts of the world, care providers may give mothers a screening test and/or a diagnostic test for GDM using other types of glucose drinks.

Before I dive into that info, let me share my experience with you. Imagine being the healthiest you can be, active, doing everything right, and not passing the glucose test. Well, that happened to me. I was about 28 weeks when my O.B. recommended that I take my glucose test. I followed the instructions and went and got my blood drawn; sure enough, I didn't pass. This was my 4th pregnancy, never had issues with diabetes in the past, and I never had not passed a glucose test. As I mentioned before, I was extremely healthy, worked out 5 times a week, and didn't gain a bunch of weight; the baby was healthy everything looked good. The only difference between this pregnancy and my past was that I had a greater understanding and knowledge of nutrition, and my diet was perfect. So how did I not pass? Well, I believe the ingredients in the glucose test were enough to shock my body into giving a false positive, and sure enough, long story short, when I was in labor, they were checking my sugars every two hours, and they were PERFECT.

Imagine putting everything perfectly in your body for years, then you're expecting, and you do an even better job of that to fuel yourself and your baby and rarely eating bad things and then taking this glucose test that is full of crap. It's like taking processed sugar out of your diet for months, and then you have it again, and your like, "whoe, I feel like crap."

Risk factors for gestational diabetes

  • Being plus-size

  • Increasing maternal age

  • History of GDM

  • History of having a large for gestational age baby

  • Diabetes in a close relative

  • Belonging to an ethnic group at increased risk for GDM

Did you also know that the drink you consume and the test done do not always accurately show how you process sugar? Have you ever read the ingredients on the back of the bottle?

The Oral Glucose Tolerance Test is a standardized test for gestational diabetes that every pregnant woman is asked to take between 24-28 weeks. During which, you are asked to drink the classic, orange glucola drink and then have your glucose level checked an hour later. A normal result is 140 mg/dL or lower.

Glucola ingredients include: water, dextrose (D-glucose from corn), citric acid, natural flavoring, food starch-modified, glycerol ester of wood rosin, brominated soybean oil (banned in Europe, Japan, and India; actually also patented in the U.S. as a flame retardant), food dye and coloring: Yellow #6, Sodium Hexametaphosphate, BHA, and . 10% Sodium Benzoate. You will find that there is a clear glucola drink you can request that will eliminate the food dyes but will still have all of the other toxic ingredients.

Dextrose derived from genetically modified Bt-Corn - GMO Dextrose is derived from conventional (GMO) corn, known as Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) corn. Bt-corn is genetically modified with Bt to help corn plants synthesize their bacterial protein to kill pests. Bt-corn is categorized as a pesticide by the EPA.

Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO) - BVO contains bromine, which is patented as a flame retardant. Bromine or its metabolites has the potential to bioaccumulate in the body and is toxic to primary hepatocytes and the endocrine system. It was designated by the FDA as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) in 1958. The GRAS designation for BVO was withdrawn in 1970 due to poisonous amounts in animal feed. BVO is banned as a food additive in Europe and Japan. Polybrominated diphenyl ether flame retardants can have negative health effects, including infertility, miscarriage, preterm birth, and neurodevelopmental impairment.

Red Dye #40 and Yellow Dye #6 - Food dyes have been associated with attention-deficit/hyperactivity symptoms in children, migraines, and allergic responses. They may contain benzidine, a human and animal carcinogen. Studies in rats showed that food dyes activate the immune system and accelerate the production of adrenal and testicular tumors.

Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) - BHA is considered a potential human carcinogen based on evidence in experimental animals. BHA was listed in 1990 as a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer under the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986.

Sodium Benzoate - Sodium benzoates were the reason for a voluntary recall of Perrier bottled waters sold in 1989. The FDA considers this preservative "safe" (GRAS) in only minimal doses. However, sodium benzoates have long been considered a carcinogen in > micros doses.

Sodium Hexametaphosphate (SHMP) - SHMP, a polyphosphate, is found in foods as a sequestrant, thickener, and emulsifier. It's also typically used in cosmetics and oral care as a corrosion inhibitor. In acute studies, rabbits fed 10% SHMP had pale and swollen kidneys.

BPA found in plastic packaging - BPA is a chemical with reported adverse associations such as infertility, miscarriage, and neurodevelopmental impairment.

Serious side effects from this test are possible; some people feel nauseous, sweaty, lightheaded, or may even feel short of breath or faint after drinking the glucose.

A few alternative testing options you may decide to discuss and try:

The Fresh Test* (a non-GMO, gluten-free, BPA-free, organic alternative to the "normal" glucose solution

Follow your regular diet and periodically test sugars at home with a glucose monitor (fasting, an hour after a meal, randomly)

-Organic juice of choice before testing (50 g sugar)

-Typical meal you might have heavy in carbs and sugar before testing



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