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So much for those burger-and-fries cravings.

A new study published in Diabetologia found that women who eat more fried food before conceiving are at greater risk for developing gestational diabetes—the kind that starts or is first noticed during pregnancy. Researchers looked at diet questionnaires from about 15,000 women enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study II.

Once they adjusted for BMI, researchers found that women who ate fried food seven or more times a week had an 88% greater risk for gestational diabetes than those who ate fried food less than once a week.

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Interestingly, the association was particularly strong with fried foods eaten away from home compared to home-cooked fried food. Restaurants tend to reuse their oil for multiple fryings, a practice that deteriorates oils through oxidation and hydrogenation. “Refrying may produce more of those detrimental chemicals,” says co-author Cuilin Zhang, MD, an investigator at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Frying also creates inflammatory compounds that may contribute to cell damage and diabetes—which Zhang suspects are related to the fried food.

No one would argue that a chicken nugget is a health food, but that kind of dining may be more hazardous when you’re getting ready to eat for two.

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Write to Mandy Oaklander at

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