Obesity Status Affects the Relationship Between Protein Intake and Insulin Sensitivity in Late Pregnancy

Nutrients. 2019 Sep 11;11(9):2190. doi: 10.3390/nu11092190.


The purpose of this study was to determine the associations between amount and type of dietary protein intake and insulin sensitivity in late pregnancy, in normal weight and overweight women (29.8 ± 0.2 weeks gestation, n = 173). A 100-gram oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) was administered following an overnight fast to estimate the metabolic clearance rate of glucose (MCR, mg · kg-1 · min-1) using four different equations accounting for the availability of blood samples. Total (TP), animal (AP), and plant (PP) protein intakes were assessed using a 3-day food record. Two linear models with MCR as the response variable were fitted to the data to estimate the relationship of protein intake to insulin sensitivity either unadjusted or adjusted for early pregnancy body mass index (BMI) because of the potential of BMI to influence this relationship. There was a positive association between TP (β = 1.37, p = 0.002) and PP (β = 4.44, p < 0.001) intake in the last trimester of pregnancy and insulin sensitivity that weakened when accounting for early pregnancy BMI. However, there was no relationship between AP intake and insulin sensitivity (β = 0.95, p = 0.08). Therefore, early pregnancy BMI may be a better predictor of insulin sensitivity than dietary protein intake in late pregnancy.

Keywords: animal protein; glucose; insulin resistance; insulin sensitivity; obesity; plant protein; pregnancy; protein.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animal Proteins, Dietary / administration & dosage
  • Animal Proteins, Dietary / metabolism
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diabetes, Gestational / blood*
  • Diabetes, Gestational / diagnosis
  • Diabetes, Gestational / physiopathology
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Proteins / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood*
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Maternal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Models, Biological
  • Obesity / blood*
  • Obesity / diagnosis
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Plant Proteins, Dietary / administration & dosage
  • Plant Proteins, Dietary / metabolism
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Factors


  • Animal Proteins, Dietary
  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Insulin
  • Plant Proteins, Dietary