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Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Mar;99(3):517-23. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.074138. Epub 2013 Dec 18.

Pregnancy and Glycemic Index Outcomes study: effects of low glycemic index compared with conventional dietary advice on selected pregnancy outcomes.

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  • 1Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia (RGM, SAC, EGQ, JMC, and MM); the School of Health Sciences, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia (LCT); the Department of Statistics, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia (PP); and the Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise and Eating Disorders and School of Molecular Bioscience, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia (JCB-M).

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Eating carbohydrate foods with a high glycemic index (GI) has been postulated to result in fetoplacental overgrowth and higher infant body fat. A diet with a low glycemic index (LGI) has been shown to reduce birth percentiles and the ponderal index (PI).

OBJECTIVES:

We investigated whether offering LGI dietary advice at the first antenatal visit would result in a lower fetal birth weight, birth percentile, and PI than providing healthy eating (HE) advice. This advice had to be presented within the resources of routine antenatal care.

DESIGN:

The Pregnancy and Glycemic Index Outcomes study was a 2-arm, parallel-design, randomized, controlled trial that compared the effects of LGI dietary advice with HE advice on pregnancy outcomes. Eligible volunteers who attended for routine antenatal care at <20 wk of gestation were randomly assigned to either group.

RESULTS:

A total of 691 women were enrolled, and 576 women had final data considered. In the LGI group, the GI was reduced from a mean (± SEM) of 56 ± 0.3 at enrollment to 52 ± 0.3 (P < 0.001) at the final assessment. There were no significant differences in primary outcomes of fetal birth weight, birth percentile, or PI. In a multivariate regression analysis, the glycemic load was the only significant dietary predictor (P = 0.046) of primary outcomes but explained <1% of all variation.

CONCLUSION:

A low-intensity dietary intervention with an LGI diet compared with an HE diet in pregnancy did not result in any significant differences in birth weight, fetal percentile, or PI.

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