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5 Common Questions About Gestational Diabetes: Q&A with Whole 30

When I first started working in the field of gestational diabetes, I noticed a trend in the types of questions I was asked.

Most of the time, I was assuaging fears and correcting misinformation. (There’s a ton of outdated prenatal nutrition advice, after all.)

I’ve been trying to shift the conversation on gestational diabetes gradually over the years (even before I published my book). And with every interview, speaking engagement, and blog post I write on the topic, my real food approach is gaining traction.

In fact, I was just informed that one European country is in the process of revising their medical nutrition therapy guidelines for gestational diabetes to reflect the research, and according to one person involved in the process was “inspired by my work.”

He said:

“Your great work is spreading by itself, like a fire in a forest which has not seen rain for decades. Your book is a brilliant piece of work and it helped docs here to connect the dots.”

One of the most crucial changes?

This country will be dropping the ridiculously high “minimum” carbohydrate requirement from their guidelines and encouraging individualization.


As a result, Real Food for Gestational Diabetes may soon be translated to its third language (Currently available in English and Spanish). We’ll see…

Anyways… when Steph over at Whole 30’s Healthy Mama Happy Baby asked to participate in their expert Q&A series and tackle gestational diabetes, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

If you have questions about gestational diabetes and don’t like settling for a generic answer, this post is for you.

Read my Whole 30 Q&A on Gestational Diabetes HERE.

You’ll learn:

  • Why gestational diabetes is more nuanced than just “diabetes of pregnancy”
  • What dietary changes are most important when you get diagnosed with gestational diabetes
  • What percentage of women with GD have ZERO risk factors (this one will surprise you)
  • Why the primary treatment for gestational diabetes is NOT insulin or medication
  • What’s wrong with conventional nutrition advice for gestational diabetes?
  • How my real food approach for gestational diabetes is different and why it works so well

Gestational diabetes is a complex topic, so if you still find yourself scratching your head about it – no matter how small the detail – pop it in the comments box at the bottom of this post.

I’ll be happy to answer those Qs in a future blog post. 😉

Until next week,

PS – If you were just diagnosed with gestational diabetes and want to learn how to manage it with real food (and lessen your chances of requiring insulin), be sure to check out my FREE video series on the topic.

You’ll get 3 in-depth videos + a guide to managing your blood sugar at absolutely no cost to you. Sign up HERE or via the box below.

Manage gestational diabetes without fear.

Learn how a real food approach can help in this free video series

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Lily Nichols is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist, Certified Diabetes Educator, researcher, and author with a passion for evidence-based prenatal nutrition and exercise. Her work is known for being research-focused, thorough, and unapologetically critical of outdated dietary guidelines. She is the author of two bestselling books, Real Food for Pregnancy and Real Food for Gestational Diabetes.


Leave a comment
  1. Hi Lily,
    I have two questions.
    1) I followed your recommendations for GD and for the most part had great numbers. What surprised me is that my daughter was still hypoglycemic after birth and had to be supplemented with formula for a day or so till her numbers stabilized. For some reason I thought if my blood sugar numbers were good that she would not be hypoglycemic after birth. Do you have any info on this?
    2) Now that I am running around with a newborn and toddler I am trying to keep protein in my diet while on the run I have turned to some protein bars I found from Nature Valley ( The ingredients aren’t the best. I know you advocate real food, but is there a protein bar out there that you recommend? I have had a really hard time finding one that isn’t loaded with carbs/sugar or doesn’t have fake sugars. I am trying to do real foods as much as possible, but these bars are great on the run or when baby is crying and I need to grab something quick before I sit down to nurse.

    Thanks in advance and thanks for the great info! I was able to control my GD very well with all of your advice.

    • Both great questions, Kristin! I’ll add them to the queue for future blog posts. 😉 And congratulations on your new addition! Kudos to you for nourishing yourself and your baby so well.

  2. I am SO grateful I came across your book/website when I was pregnant with my second baby girl. I was diagnosed with GDM and I felt downhearted as I considered my self healthier and more active this time around. Your book put things into perspective, including stories from women from all lifestyles that were diagnosed. I was lucky enough to have been counsled by an obstetrics group that followed the “real food” approach. I used your book and recipes to motivate me. Now that my daughter is 8 months old, I am looking for a post ( hint hint) that will guide women POST natal—guidelines to help decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes in the future, while monitoring diet and glucose levels. The national standard for diabetes seems very broad and unspecific for the post natal demographic. It would be great to have a book with your research as a guide!

    • Thanks so much for sharing your story, Marsinah. Bravo on having a real food pregnancy! Good idea for a postnatal nutrition blog post.

      PS – There is a chapter on postpartum nutrition and strategies to prevent type 2 diabetes in Real Food for Gestational Diabetes. If you read that section and have follow up questions, please let me know, so I can address them on the blog. 😉

      • I do have a question actually! Do you recommend following the recommended American Diabetic Association glucose ranges for those that are post GDM or should we be following another set of glucose ranges? I guess I was so used to following a strict guideline and monitoring levels closely, I feel the general glucose ranges are too broad??

        Thank you for your quick reply…You are awesome!!

        • Sorry I didn’t respond sooner, Marsinah! During pregnancy, blood sugar levels trend about 20% lower, hence the lower targets for gestational diabetes. So it’s normal for your blood sugar goals to change. Hope that helps!

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