Author(s): Moses RG, Luebcke M, Davis WS, Coleman KJ, Tapsell LC
BACKGROUND: Pregnancy is a condition in which the glycemic index (GI) may be of particular relevance because maternal glucose is the main energy substrate for intrauterine growth. OBJECTIVE: The aim was to compare the effects of low-GI and conventional dietary strategies on pregnancy outcomes in healthy women. Compliance and acceptability were also investigated. DESIGN: The subjects were assigned alternately to receive dietary counseling that encouraged either low-GI (LGI) carbohydrate foods or high-fiber, moderate-to-high GI (HGI) foods and were studied 5 times between <16 wk gestation and delivery. Of the 70 women who met the inclusion criteria, 62 completed the study (32 in the LGI and 30 in the HGI groups). Primary outcomes were measures of fetal size. RESULTS: The mean diet GI fell significantly in the LGI group but not in the HGI group. Compared with the LGI group, women in the HGI group gave birth to infants who were heavier (3408 +/- 78 compared with 3644 +/- 90 g; P = 0.051) and had a higher birth centile (48 +/- 5 compared with 69 +/- 5; P = 0.005), a higher ponderal index (2.62 +/- 0.04 compared with 2.74 +/- 0.04; P = 0.03), and a higher prevalence of large-for-gestational age (3.1% compared with 33.3%; P = 0.01). Women in the LGI group found the diet easier to follow. CONCLUSION: Because birth weight and ponderal index may predict chronic disease in later life, a low-GI diet may favorably influence long-term outcomes.