Low GI diet produces healthier babies

Sydney: Eating a diet with a “low glycemic index” during pregnancy may result in healthier babies, according to a new study from Australia.

The glycemic index (GI) of a food is the measure of how quickly blood sugar (glucose) rises after meals. For example, foods with a higher fibre content such as as whole wheat and vegetables have a hlower GI than those containing simple starches, such as biscuits and pastries.

Doctors at the Wollongong Hospital in New South Wales, according to a report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that the glycemic index of a pregnant woman’s diet could be expected to play a role in fetal health.

The team instructed 62 pregnant women to either eat plenty of low-glycemic index foods or high-fibre foods with a moderate-to-high glycemic index. Women said they had an easier time following the low-glycemic index diet.

Infants born to the 30 women on the high-glycemic index diet were heavier than the babies of the 32 women on the low- glycemic index diet. These infants also had a higher ponderal index, a measure of weight in relation to length. One third of the babies whose mothers were on the high-glycemic index diet were heavy for their gestational age, compared to 3.1 percent of the infants whose mothers ate a low-glycemic index diet.