Diet Quality and Glycemic Control in Women With Gestational Diabetes

pregnant woman eating salad
pregnant woman eating salad
Women with gestational diabetes can improve glycemic control by improving their diet.

According to study results published in the Journal of Women’s Health, women with gestational diabetes can improve glycemic control by improving their diet.

To determine how dietary quality influences glycemic control, researchers assessed the diets of 1220 women (average age, 32 years) who were recently diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Participants were stratified into 4 quartiles based on dietary quality using Healthy Eating Index 2010 (HEI-2010) adherence scores, calculated with data from a Food Frequency Questionnaire. A higher HEI-2010 score indicated higher dietary quality. The researchers defined optimal glycemic control as ≥80% of all capillary glucose measurements meeting recommended clinical targets <95 mg/dL for fasting glucose levels and <140 mg/dL for 1-hour postprandial glucose levels.

Compared with quartile 1, which included participants with the lowest HEI-2010 scores, quartiles 2, 3, and 4 demonstrated increased odds of overall optimal glycemic control (odds ratios [ORs]: 1.9, 1.77, and 1.55, respectively).

As for individual measurements of glycemic control, the researchers discovered higher odds of glycemic control in quartiles 2, 3, and 4 compared with the lowest quartile. Specifically, odds were significantly higher in quartile 4 than in quartile 1 after breakfast (OR, 2.06) and dinner (OR, 1.49). There was, however, no significant association between quartile and odds of glycemic control in fasting glucose measurements.

Furthermore, compared with quartile 1, mean capillary glucose for 1-hour post-dinner values was lower in quartiles 2, 3, and 4 (P =.002).

The researchers reported several limitations to their study, including a lack of subsequent dietary assessments beyond the one completed shortly after diagnosis.

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“Our findings suggest that improving dietary quality may be an additional means of achieving postprandial glycemic control in this population,” the researchers said. “Clinicians should be aware that even a small improvement in dietary quality may be beneficial for the achievement of optimal glycemic control.”

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Gadgil MD, Ehrlich SF, Zhu Y, et al. Dietary quality and glycemic control among women with gestational diabetes mellitus [published online October 30, 2018]. J Womens Health (Larchmt). doi:10.1089/jwh.2017.6788