Dietary Blueberry and Soluble Fiber Supplementation Reduces Risk of Gestational Diabetes in Women with Obesity in a Randomized Controlled Trial

Arpita Basu, Du Feng, Petar Planinic, Jeffrey L Ebersole, Timothy J Lyons, James M Alexander
J Nutr. 2021 May 11;151(5):1128-1138.
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Background: Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a growing public health concern and maternal obesity and poor dietary intakes could be implicated. Dietary polyphenols and fiber mitigate the risk of diabetes and its complications, but little is known about their efficacy in preventing GDM.

Objectives: We examined the effects of whole blueberry and soluble fiber supplementation on primary outcomes of cardiometabolic profiles in women at high risk of developing GDM.

Methods: Women (n = 34; mean ± SD age: 27 ± 5 y; BMI: 35.5 ± 4.0 kg/m2; previous history of GDM ∼56%; Hispanic ∼79%) were recruited in early pregnancy (<20 weeks of gestation) and randomly assigned to 1 of the following 2 groups for 18 wk: intervention (280 g whole blueberries and 12 g soluble fiber per day) and standard prenatal care (control). Both groups received nutrition education and maintained 24-h food recalls throughout the study. Data on anthropometrics, blood pressure, and blood samples for biochemical analyses were collected at baseline (<20 weeks), midpoint (24-28 weeks), and end (32-36 weeks) of gestation. Diagnosis of GDM was based on a 2-step glucose challenge test (GCT). Data were analyzed using a mixed-model ANOVA.

Results: Maternal weight gain was significantly lower in the dietary intervention than in the control group at the end of the trial (mean ± SD: 6.8 ± 3.2 kg compared with 12.0 ± 4.1 kg, P = 0.001). C-reactive protein was also lower in the intervention than in the control group (baseline: 6.1 ± 4.0 compared with 6.8 ± 7.2 mg/L; midpoint: 6.1 ± 3.7 compared with 7.5 ± 7.3 mg/L; end: 5.5 ± 2.2 compared with 9.5 ± 6.6 mg/L, respectively, P = 0.002). Blood glucose based on GCT was lower in the intervention than in the control (100 ± 33 mg/dL compared with 131 ± 40 mg/dL, P < 0.05). Conventional lipids (total, LDL, and HDL cholesterol and triglycerides) did not differ between groups over time. No differences were noted in infant birth weight.

Conclusions: Whole blueberry and soluble fiber supplementation may prevent excess gestational weight gain and improve glycemic control and inflammation in women with obesity.This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT03467503.

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