Dietary Intake and Beliefs of Pregnant Women with Gestational Diabetes in Cape Town, South Africa

Nutrients. 2018 Aug 28;10(9):1183. doi: 10.3390/nu10091183.


This study investigated the dietary intake of pregnant women with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) and their beliefs relating to the consumption of fruits and vegetables (F&V) and sugary foods and drinks. A cross-sectional study was conducted on 239 pregnant women with GDM in Cape Town. Dietary intake was assessed using a quantified Food Frequency Questionnaire and beliefs relating to food choices were assessed using the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB). The mean energy intake was 7268 KJ, carbohydrate was 220 (±104.5) g, protein 60.3 (±27.5) g and fat 67.7 (±44.2) g. The macronutrient distribution was 55% carbohydrates, 14.5% protein and 30.5% fat of total energy. The majority of the sample had inadequate intakes of vitamin D (87.4%), folate (96.5%) and iron (91.3%). The median (IQR) amount of added table sugar and sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs) was 4.0 (0.00⁻12.5) g and 17.9 (0.0⁻132.8) mL per day, respectively. Only 31.4% met the recommendation (400 g per day) for F&V. Beliefs that it was not easy to exclude sugary foods/drinks and that knowing how to control cravings for sugary foods/drinks are areas to target messages on the sugar content of SSBs. In conclusion, the dietary intake of these women was not optimal and fell short of several nutritional guidelines for pregnant women with hyperglycaemia. The strongly held beliefs regarding sugary foods/drinks may contribute to poor adherence to nutritional guidelines among pregnant women with GDM in South Africa.

Keywords: GDM; SSBs; beliefs; dietary intake; fruits and vegetables; gestational diabetes; hyperglycaemia first detected in pregnancy; pregnancy nutrition; sugar intake.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Culture
  • Diabetes, Gestational / blood
  • Diabetes, Gestational / diet therapy*
  • Diabetes, Gestational / physiopathology
  • Diabetes, Gestational / psychology
  • Diet, Healthy*
  • Energy Intake
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Maternal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Nutritional Status
  • Nutritive Value
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Pregnancy
  • Protective Factors
  • Risk Factors
  • South Africa