By Aly Walansky
Updated January 19, 2016
Pimento Cheese Fries
Credit: © Lucas Allen

Pregnancy isn’t easy. You deal with morning sickness and crazy mood swings, then aren’t even allowed a cocktail at the end of the day. And now scientists are saying moms-to-be can’t even comfort themselves with a hearty helping of America’s favorite comfort food.

A study published in the British Medical Journal recently found that pregnant women who enjoy lots of potatoes have a greater risk of gestational diabetes than those who eat beans and whole grains. While anyone who eats more potatoes than beans is going to have greater health risks, it seems like a pretty mean blow to women who are already suffering from nausea and could use a soothing starchy food to feel better.

The study monitored 15,000 women who kept food diaries over a ten-year period. The study found that the greater amount of potatoes a woman ate, the greater likelihood she had of suffering from gestational diabetes.

"Potatoes are mostly carbohydrate. Carbohydrates are simple sugars. Pregnant women, because of the hormones they are making, are at more risk for diabetes and therefore don't process simple sugars well. A good alternative is a sweet potato in small amounts," says Dr. Alyse Kelly-Jones of Novant Health Mintview OB/GYN in Charlotte, NC.

Potatoes are not off-limits entirely, though—just steer clear of the fried variety. “Pregnant women and women who are trying to get pregnant can absolutely enjoy potatoes, but they should eat them with the skin on, which provides more nutrients and fiber. Roasting and baking potatoes are both delicious and healthy cooking methods. Potatoes provide healthy nutrients for pregnancy, including potassium and fiber,” says Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, nutrition expert and author of Eating in Color and Feed the Belly: The Pregnant Mom’s Healthy Eating Guide.