high carbohydrate pregnancy dietSince the introduction of low carbohydrate diets, experts have weighed in on both sides of the dietary debate. Some experts claim a low carbohydrate diet can lead to heart problems, higher cholesterol, and other medical conditions. On the opposite side of the debate are experts that claim high carbohydrate diets are dangerous and associated with obesity, diabetes risk, and premature death. A recent study in Buenos Aires claims high-carbohydrate diets, when consumed during pregnancy, may be associated with an increased risk of severe, life-threatening RSV.

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) affected 800 of 1,200 infants hospitalized in Buenos Aires hospitals during the study. Of the 800 RSV cases, 106 infants were diagnosed with a severe, life-threatening form of the disease as characterized by pulse oxygenation below 87%. Forty-eight infants died of the condition, in the hospital, and at home. Mothers were asked to fill out a questionnaire detailing maternity diet in the last trimester of the pregnancy.

Mothers who reported consuming high-carbohydrate diets were more likely to have infants who contracted the most severe form of RSV. After food intake was taken into consideration, the percentage of infants suffering from the most severe form of RSV, including infants who died from the condition, were born nearly 56% of the time to mothers with high-carbohydrate diets in the latter stages of pregnancy. The overall percentage of severe RSV cases was just 12.7% when diet was removed from the equation.

Researchers believe the results of the study are clear. High-carbohydrate intake during pregnancy, especially the latter stages of pregnancy, contributes to increased risk of severe and/or fatal RSV infections in infants. No dietary guideline changes were suggested as researchers plan to continue study to replicate and reinforce the results.

Source: 1.F. M. Ferolla, D. R. Hijano, P. L. Acosta, A. Rodriguez, K. Duenas, A. Sancilio, E. Barboza, A. Caria, G. Fernandez Gago, R. Egues Almeida, L. Castro, C. Pozzolo, M. V. Martinez, L. Alva Grimaldi, B. Rebec, M. Calvo, J. Henrichsen, C. Nocito, M. Gonzalez, G. Barbero, J. Ves Losada, M. T. Caballero, V. Zurankovas, M. Raggio, G. Schavlovsky, A. Kobylarz, V. Wimmenauer, J. Bugna, J. V. Williams, G. Sastre, E. Flamenco, A. Rodriguez Perez, F. Ferrero, R. Libster, C. G. Grijalva, F. P. Polack. Macronutrients during Pregnancy and Life-Threatening Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections in Children. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 2013; DOI: 10.1164/rccm.201301-0016OC