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Low GI diet helps overweight mothers

By Nigel Praities

Advising overweight pregnant women to adopt a low-GI diet may reduce their cardiovascular risk and improve the outcome of their pregnancy, say US researchers.

Their study randomly assigned 46 overweight or obese pregnant women to start either a low-GI or a low-fat diet.

Those in the low GI diet group had significantly longer gestational periods, with a mean period of 39.3 weeks compared with 37.9 weeks for those on the low fat diet.

There were fewer deliveries at 38 weeks or less, 13% in those on the low-GI diet compared to 48%.

The baby's head circumference was greater in the low-GI diet group - 35 cm compared with 34.2 cm in the low-fat diet group.

Those in the GI diet group also had better cholesterol and triglyceride levels, compared with the low-fat diet group.

Study lead Dr Erinn Rhodes, a paediatric endocrinologist at Harvard Medical School, said: ‘Large-scale studies are warranted to evaluate whether dietary intervention during pregnancy aimed at lowering the glycaemic load may be useful in the prevention of prematurity and other adverse maternal and infant outcomes.'

Am J Clin Nutr 2010 published early online October 20

Low GI diet helps overweight mothers

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