Dietary Quality and Glycemic Control Among Women with Gestational Diabetes Mellitus

J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2019 Feb;28(2):178-184. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2017.6788. Epub 2018 Oct 30.


Background/objective: Poor dietary quality, measured by the Healthy Eating Index 2010 (HEI-2010), is associated with risk of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) and type 2 diabetes. The aim was to investigate the association between dietary quality and glycemic control in women with GDM.

Materials and methods: The study included 1220 women with GDM. Dietary quality was calculated by HEI-2010 score from a Food Frequency Questionnaire administered shortly after GDM diagnosis; higher scores indicate higher dietary quality. Subsequent glycemic control was defined as ≥80% of all capillary glucose measurements meeting recommended clinical targets below 95 mg/dL for fasting, and below 140 mg/dL 1-hour glucose after meals.

Results: As compared with Quartile 1 of HEI-2010 score, Quartiles 2, 3, and 4 showed increased adjusted odds of overall optimal glycemic control (odds ratio [95% confidence interval] 1.90 [1.34-2.70], 1.77 [1.25-2.52], and 1.55 [1.09-2.20], respectively). Increased odds of glycemic control were observed in Quartiles 2, 3, and 4 as compared with Quartile 1 of HEI-2010 score for 1-hour postbreakfast and 1-hour postdinner. Mean capillary glucose was lower in Quartiles 2, 3, and 4 of HEI-2010 score when compared with Quartile 1 for 1-hour postdinner (p = 0.03).

Conclusions: Clinicians should be aware that even a small improvement in diet quality may be beneficial for the achievement of improved glycemic control in women with GDM.

Trial registration: Clinical number, NCT01344278.

Keywords: diet; gestational diabetes; glycemic control; nutrition; pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Diabetes, Gestational / diet therapy*
  • Diet / standards*
  • Diet, Healthy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Glycemic Index
  • Humans
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Postprandial Period
  • Pregnancy


  • Blood Glucose

Associated data