OBJECTIVE Low-carbohydrate diets (LCDs) may improve short-term glycemic control in patients with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), but the long-term effect on progression from GDM to type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is unknown. We aimed to examine the long-term risk of T2DM in association with a low-carbohydrate dietary pattern among women with a history of GDM.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS Overall, 4,502 women with a history of GDM from the Nurses' Health Study II cohort, as part of the Diabetes & Women’s Health Study, were followed up from 1991 to 2011. Overall, animal, or vegetable LCD scores, which represent adherence to different low-carbohydrate dietary patterns, were calculated using diet intake information assessed every 4 years since 1991 by validated food-frequency questionnaires. We used Cox proportional hazards models to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% CIs.
RESULTS We documented 722 incident cases of T2DM during 68,897 person-years of observation. The multivariable-adjusted HRs (95% CIs) of T2DM, comparing the highest with lowest quintiles, were 1.36 (1.04–1.78) for overall LCD score (P = 0.003 for trend), 1.40 (1.06–1.84) for animal LCD score (P = 0.004 for trend), and 1.19 (0.91–1.55) for vegetable LCD score (P = 0.50 for trend).
CONCLUSIONS Among women with a history of GDM, a low-carbohydrate dietary pattern, particularly with high protein and fat intake mainly from animal-source foods, is associated with higher T2DM risk, whereas a low-carbohydrate dietary pattern with high protein and fat intake from plant-source foods is not significantly associated with risk of T2DM.
- Received July 27, 2015.
- Accepted October 9, 2015.
- © 2015 by the American Diabetes Association. Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered.