Women who eat fried food on the regular before they conceive a child face a much higher risk of getting gestational diabetes, which can in turn lead to overweight babies.

The fried food can be anything: fried fish, French fries, KFC, deep fried Oreos. "How often do you eat fried food away from home?" study participants were asked, then told to rate their answers between "less than once per week" all the way up to "daily." And if they fried their food at home, what did they use, butter? Vegetable oil? Lard?

You can guess where this is going. The more fried food the women ate, the more likely they were to have gestational diabetes, which is also known as GDM and carries a risk of becoming full-blown type 2 diabetes after birth. Women who ate fried food every day were more than twice as likely to have GDM than the women who avoided the stuff. The finding was reported by doctors at the National Institutes of Health in the journal Diabetologia on Wednesday.

Here's the science behind it: "Frying deteriorates oils through the processes of oxidation and hydrogenation, leading to an increase in the absorption of oil degradation products by the foods being fried," the authors said in a news release. As a result, the food absorbs the nasty gunk, like trans fats, and dispenses with unsaturated fat, the better kind.

But there's more. Frying your food makes it contain higher amounts of "advanced glycation end products," or AGEs. These are chemical compounds that build up as we age, bonding with the sugar in our bodies. Cooking meat at high temperature is thought to be a great way to load up on these harmful AGEs — in other words, deep frying those chicken wings.

"Recently, AGEs have been implicated in insulin resistance, pancreatic beta-cell damage and diabetes, partly because they promote oxidative stress and inflammation," the authors of the new study wrote. "Moreover, intervention studies with a diet low in AGEs have shown significantly improved insulin sensitivity, reduced oxidant stress, and alleviated inflammation."

Bottom line: Go easy on those chicken and waffles.

Source: C. Zhang, et al. Diabetologia. 2014.

Published by Medicaldaily.com