Diabetes During Pregnancy: No More Soda?

Diet Coke and Mentos GeyserDiet Coke and Mentos GeyserWhile reading some blog posts about pregnancy this morning, I came across a post about a link between too much soda before pregnancy and an increased risk of gestational diabetes during pregnancy. Curious, I clicked on the link and began reading. The first sentence asks, “Are you a cola junkie who’s thinking about getting pregnant?” My initial answer is a resounding no. Sure, I love a good Cherry Coke every now and then, but I would definitely not classify myself as a soda junkie. My mother, who drinks multiple bottles of Diet Coke because she absolutely cannot go without, is a cola junkie (although diet soda during pregnancy is apparently not as bad). I enjoy a soda a day or even every few days, but I would never freak out if soda were not available to me.

Boy was I surprised to find as I continued reading that a woman who drinks just a few servings of soda each week is at a significantly increased risk of developing diabetes during pregnancy. Now I was concerned. But, how much is “a few servings a week” exactly? A soda a day? Multiple sodas a day? How big of a serving size is a serving? According to the blog post, a woman who drinks more than five sugar-sweetened sodas a week during the time before pregnancy has a twenty-two percent increased risk of developing diabetes during pregnancy. (Diet soda during pregnancy is not implicated as an increased risk factor.) I began to wonder if I should be worried about my current soda intake. After all, I have admitted that Cherry Coke is one of my preconception food sins!

So, I began thinking about my typical daily intake of beverages. I begin each workday with a bowl of healthy cereal (right now I like shredded wheat) with at least eight ounces of skim milk. I always drink the milk in the bottom of the bowl instead of tossing it down the drain. When I get to work, I drink about sixteen ounces of decaffeinated coffee. For lunch, I usually drink a high protein Boost (chocolate or vanilla) or some tomato juice. Throughout the day I sip on decaffeinated black iced tea. When I get home from work, I most often drink sixteen ounces of skim milk with dinner. Throughout the rest of the evening, I will usually have one to three more sixteen ounces of skim milk. So far, so good. A lot of liquids with high calcium and protein contents but low caffeine and sugar counts. My risk of diabetes during pregnancy seems to be diminishing.

In addition to my healthy and healthier drink choices, I still enjoy an occasional soda every once in a while. Just yesterday on the way to a puppy play date, my husband and I stopped at McDonald’s for two of their $1 large Coke specials. Admittedly, I drank only about two-thirds of the entire soda, but it was still a lot of sugar Coca Cola. The previous day I had a Coke with lunch and a Pepsi at the movies. Should I be worried? Should I considered drinking diet soda during pregnancy as well as before even though I hate the taste of artificially sweetened drinks? After giving my soda consumption before pregnancy some careful consideration, I have come to the conclusion that I am probably fine. I drink soda every now and then and certainly not every day. If anything, I should drink less soda in general to avoid diabetes during pregnancy as well as throughout the rest of my life.

Do you consider yourself a soda junkie? Did you drink soda before or during pregnancy?

Originally written on July 12, 2010

Image Credits

Diet Coke and Mentos Geyser: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Diet_Coke_Mentos.jpg

Heather Johnson

Heather Johnson is a mother, wife, writer, librarian, and linguist. She earned a BA in English studies with a minor in creative writing from Illinois State University in May 2007, an MS in library and information science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in May 2009, and an MS in English studies with an emphasis in linguistics at Illinois State University in December 2011.

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