Organic food use, meat intake, and prevalence of gestational diabetes: KOALA birth cohort study

A.P. Simoes-Wust*, C. Molto-Puigmarti, M.C.J.M. van Dongen, C. Thijs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose To evaluate whether consumption of organic food and reduced intake of meat products in pregnancy are associated with lower prevalence of gestational diabetes (GD). Methods Women participating in the KOALA Birth Cohort Study with valid informed consent, a singleton pregnancy and information on their food intake were considered in this cross-sectional analysis. Participants with and without GD were compared with each other in terms of dietary characteristics (n = 37 and n = 2766, respectively). Multivariable logistic regression (LR) was used to adjust for relevant covariates. Results Organic food consumption tended to be lower, although not significantly, in women with GD compared to women without GD, whereas consumption of meat was positively associated with GD prevalence. LR modelling showed that GD was significantly associated with higher consumption of meat and, in addition, also of cheese, after adjustment for other relevant covariates. GD was associated with some indicators of animal product intake, namely dietary animal to plant protein ratio and maternal plasma arachidonic acid (for the latter, data available for n = 16 and n = 1304, respectively). Food patterns of participants with GD were characterised by more meat products and less vegetarian products. Conclusions Due to the low number of participants with GD, results have to be interpreted cautiously. Consumption of organic food during pregnancy does not seem to be markedly associated with a lower GD prevalence; lower intake of meat and cheese, irrespective of its origin (organic or conventional), does. The latter supports previous studies suggesting a causal association between consumption of animal products and GD.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4463-4472
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Nutrition
Issue number8
Early online date5 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Diet composition
  • Food patterns
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Meat consumption
  • Organic food
  • RISK

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