In a recent report, Flavia Del Monte, fitness expert and author of the All Belly Pregnancy program, examined some potential health hazards for expectant mothers. More specifically she looked at 3 components of “sweets” that are potentially harmful to you and your baby if eaten in excess while you are pregnant.
I’ll let Flavia take it from here…
Many women believe the idea that being pregnant means you can eat whatever you want. The fact is nothing could be further from the truth. Not only is bad food still bad for you, but when you’re pregnant, it’s also bad for your baby. Sometimes, the effects on your baby are even more serious. This is clearly true when it comes to sweets made with sugar, artificial sweeteners, and high-fructose corn syrup.
Everything you eat is used to feed your baby. That includes not only the nutrients but the additives, genetically modified cells, and other components that can have a huge impact on your unborn child.
During your pregnancy, you need to be eating a diet of whole (preferably organic) foods that contains plenty of protein, carbs, and healthy fats. You can still enjoy sweet treats very moderately, but most of the sugar in your diet needs to come from fruit. Here’s why.
Eating sugar wreaks havoc on your body in several ways. When you eat sugary foods, only a small portion of that sugar can be used by your body for energy. The rest languishes in your bloodstream, raising your insulin levels to dangerous heights.
Unfortunately, sugar is addicting and you’ll end up eating more, which creates a vicious cycle that is known to lead to obesity and gestational diabetes. You’re not the only one who might be impacted, though. Excess sugar and excess weight gain during pregnancy can lead to a dangerously high birth weight for your baby and also make him or her a higher risk for Type 2 diabetes later on. When you need a sweet treat, reach for a piece of fruit, take a walk, or read a good book until the cravings pass.
The labels on foods containing artificial sweeteners will tell you that they’re safe to eat. So will any number of studies that you can find. The problem is that most of the funding for those studies comes from the companies that make those artificial sweeteners. If you read independent scientific studies, they’ll tell you something very different.
One of the biggest dangers of eating artificial sweeteners when you’re pregnant is that they interfere with the baby’s ability to regulate his own blood sugar. Artificial sweeteners cause a false insulin response, confusing the baby’s own hormonal balance and creating an over-secretion of insulin.
Aside from that danger, there is the fact that when you ingest artificial sweeteners, they rob your body of much-needed calcium; calcium that you need not only for your own bone density and bone health, but also for your developing baby.
Artificial sweeteners are known to cause:
- Fibromyalgia symptoms
- Shooting pains
- Numbness in legs
None of those things are what we want for ourselves or for our babies.
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Back in the 1970s, Japanese researchers figured out to separate fructose from corn. Basically, fructose is a highly concentrated form of the sugar that occurs in corn. The reason for creating this process is money. It’s a much cheaper way to sweeten foods and therefore make a higher profit. Because it’s so highly concentrated, fructose is also terribly addictive.
It’s the same principle as cocaine and the coca leaf. Coco leaves are actually very good for you, but when you ingest their properties at a hugely concentrated level, they’re horrendous. They’re also incredibly addicting.
When you (and your baby) ingest high fructose corn syrup, the impact on your body is very much like that of cocaine. In other words, it causes a very quick and very sharp increase in energy, but then drops you right back down, almost as fast. Your response? Get some more.
You wouldn’t feed your baby cocaine; you shouldn’t let HFCS anywhere near him or her, either. This is one of the most important reasons to avoid processed foods. Almost everything contains HFCS, even foods that aren’t sweet.
As long as you avoid processed foods, read the labels very carefully when you do eat something processed, and base 95% of your diet on fresh, whole foods, you can still have fun eating for two, without worrying about what you’re doing to yourself and your baby.
If you want to know which foods you should eat and which foods you should avoid while pregnant (and the scientific reasoning behind those decisions), be sure to check out Flavia’s All Belly Pregnancy website. Lots of great stuff there that will ensure you and your baby stay fit, strong, and healthy throughout your entire pregnancy.