Dietary glycemic index during pregnancy is associated with biomarkers of the metabolic syndrome in offspring at age 20 years

Inge Danielsen, Charlotta Granström, Thorhallur Haldorsson, Dorte Rytter, Bodil Hammer Bech, Tine Brink Henriksen, Allan Vaag, Sjurdur Frodi Olsen

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Growing evidence indicates that metabolic syndrome is rooted in fetal life with a potential key role of nutrition during pregnancy. The objective of the study was to assess the possible associations between the dietary glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) during pregnancy and biomarkers of the metabolic syndrome in young adult offspring.

Dietary GI and GL were assessed by questionnaires and interviews in gestation week 30 and offspring were clinically examined at the age of 20 years. Analyses based on 428 mother-offspring dyads were adjusted for maternal smoking during pregnancy, height, pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI), education, energy intake, and the offspring’s ambient level of physical activity. In addition, possible confounding by gestational diabetes mellitus was taken into account.
Outcome Measures

Waist circumference, blood pressure, HOMA insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) and plasma levels of fasting glucose, triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, insulin, and leptin were measured in the offspring.

Significant associations were found between dietary GI in pregnancy and HOMA-IR (the relative increase in HOMA-IR per 10 units’ GI increase was 1.09 [95% CI: 1.01, 1.16], p = 0.02), insulin (1.09 [95% CI: 1.02, 1.16], p = 0.01) and leptin (1.21 [95% CI: 1.06, 1.38], p = 0.01) in the offspring; whereas no associations were detected for GL.

Our data suggests that high dietary GI in pregnancy may affect levels of markers for the metabolic syndrome in young adult offspring in a potentially harmful direction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalPloS one
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • pregnancy
  • glucose
  • diet and type 2 diabetes
  • cholesterol
  • diet
  • food
  • leptin
  • insulin


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