Association of the low-carbohydrate dietary pattern with postpartum weight retention in women†
Low-carbohydrate diets (LCD) have been considered a popular dietary strategy for weight loss. However, the association of the low-carbohydrate dietary pattern with postpartum weight retention (PPWR) in women remains unknown. The present study involved 426 women from a prospective mother-infant cohort study. Overall, animal or plant LCD scores, which represent adherence to different low-carbohydrate dietary patterns, were calculated using diet intake information assessed by three consecutive 24 h dietary surveys. PPWR was assessed by the difference of weight at 1 year postpartum minus the pre-pregnancy weight. After adjusting for potential confounding variables, women in higher quartiles of total and animal-based LCD scores had a significantly lower body weight and weight retention at 1 year postpartum (P < 0.05). The multivariable-adjusted ORs of substantial PPWR (≥5 kg), comparing the highest with the lowest quartile, were 0.47 (95% confidence interval 0.23–0.96) for the total LCD score (P = 0.021 for trend) and 0.38 (95% confidence interval 0.19–0.77) for the animal-based LCD score (P = 0.019 for trend), while this association was significantly attenuated by rice, glycemic load, fish, poultry, animal fat and animal protein (P for trend <0.05). A high score for plant-based LCD was not significantly associated with the risk of PPWR (P > 0.05). The findings suggested that a low-carbohydrate dietary pattern, particularly with high protein and fat intake from animal-source foods, is associated with a decreased risk of weight retention at 1 year postpartum. This association was mainly due to low intake of glycemic load and high intake of fish and poultry.