Friday, 20 May 2011

30w3d: Gestational diabetes

The good news is that the little guy is doing well. He is moving a lot, the placenta is moving away from my cervix, and my fundal height is on track.

The bad news is that I have gestational diabetes. I am diabetic. I rang my doctor to confirm my "no news is good news" theory, and she told me that I had failed the one hour test. Then I failed the fasting two hour test. They took another 7 vials of blood from me this morning, and I have my first meeting with an endocrinologist on Monday.

As soon as I got my diagnosis I went to the shop and bought three books on diabetes, and I have spent this morning reading the literature on randomized trials of diet and diabetes.

From the studies that I have read, it seems that the quickest way to get my diabetes under control is to follow a low-fat low-GI vegan diet. What is the evidence for this?
  • After adjustment for age, sex, ethnicity, education, income, physical activity, television watching, sleep habits, alcohol use, and BMI, an observational study found that vegans (OR 0.51 [95% CI 0.40–0.66]), lacto-ovo vegetarians (0.54 [0.49–0.60]), pesco-vegetarians (0.70 [0.61–0.80]), and semi-vegetarians (0.76 [0.65–0.90]) had a lower risk of type 2 diabetes than nonvegetarians. N = 60,903 1

  • A prospective cohort study (N = 3,158) and a case-control study (N = 596) found that compared to no egg consumption, adjusted relative risks for gestational diabetes were 0.94, 1.01, 1.12, 1.54, and 2.52 for consumption of ≤1, 2–3, 4–6, 7–9, and ≥10 eggs/week, respectively (P for trend = 0.008) 2

  • A randomised trial (N = 99) found that type 2 diabetics allocated to a low-fat low-GI vegan diet (rather than the 2003 American Diabetes Association diet) had significantly lower HbA1c and cholesterol levels 3

I had always thought that the vegan diet was only suitable for self-righteous stinky hippies, but it looks like this is what my plate will look like for the next ten weeks:

1. Tonstad S, et al. Type of Vegetarian Diet, Body Weight, and Prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes Care May 2009 vol. 32 no. 5 791-796
2. Qui, et al.
Risk of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus in Relation to Maternal Egg and Cholesterol Intake. Am. J. Epidemiol. (2011) 173 (6): 649-658.
3. Bardard, ND, et al.
A low-fat vegan diet and a conventional diabetes diet in the treatment
of type 2 diabetes: a randomized, controlled, 74-wk clinical trial
. Am J Clin Nutr 2009;89(suppl):1588S–96S


  1. If you're anything like me, the combination of fruit and grain will actually spike your blood sugar something awful. Especially at breakfast time when you've been fasting for a while, even just a few carbs can really throw things off. What keeps things in control for me is lots of protein. And since beans and peanut butter have a high carb count, I've eaten a lot of animals and eggs this past few weeks.

  2. Sorry about the GD. It will be interesting trying to find - what to eat, what not to eat.

    Glad baby is doing well! 10 more weeks and you are there!!

  3. Sorry to hear about the G.D. I am sure you will be very successful at controlling it, but what a pain to have to monitor everything you eat. Thankfully there isn't that much more time left. :)

  4. So sorry about the diabetes! Only ten weeks of the strict diet though.
    I love that you read the studies - it made me giggle. You are a scientist, indeed.

  5. Ugh! Sorry you have GD. Am I allowed to admit to giggling when I read you went out and bought books on diabetes and read studies? Very YOU!

  6. Hey,

    Sorry to hear you have GD but on the other hand, good to know that the little boy is doing fine :)
    As somebody else said, some fruits are actually a bad idea (bananas, grapes) but I'm sure you already know it. Good luck!

  7. That's a shame about the GD, but I'm so happy to hear your little one is doing well!

    Not sure if it's been mentioned or not, but have you thought about names? I'd love to hear which ones you're thinking about!