Foods to AVOID During Pregnancy

Knowing which foods to avoid (or severely limit) during pregnancy is especially important. It’s a time in a woman’s life when she should be especially careful to protect her developing baby. Some foods on this list are obvious, like alcohol, but others may come as a surprise.

1. Junks Foods

It will be challenging to find the time to burn off these extra dead calories. Plus they are full of detrimental non-foods that are bad for you and your baby.

“Junk food” includes the usual suspects: fried foods, margarine, soft drinks, sweets, anything made with white flour (crackers, cookies, bread, cereals) and most boxed foods. They contain synthetic vitamin A which is toxic, and best avoided while pregnant.

Do the “ingredient list test” – how long is the list and how many words look like something out of a chemistry text book?

2. Caffeine

It is best to avoid or at least reduce your caffeine intake to no more than 200mg per day. It reduces iron absorption, interferes with normal fetal growth and is associated with lower birth weight and an increased risk of miscarriage.

3. Alcohol

I’m sure it’s not a big surprise to avoid alcohol while pregnant. It negatively affects the developing fetus. Enough said.

4. Trans Fats

Trans fats inhibit the conversion of fatty acids needed for fetal brain growth and decrease the fat content of breast milk. Also, it has been found to decrease sperm count.

Do not trust labels that claim products are trans fat free. If a food has half a gram or less per serving than it can be labeled “trans fat free”. No big deal? Well, the Institute of Medicine even stated there is no safe intake level for trans fats.

It’s not good for you and it’s not good for your developing baby. If the ingredient list has the words “partially hydrogenated” it’s got trans fat and it is a food to avoid during pregnancy.

5. Artificial and Refined Sweeteners

Artificial and refined sweeteners (like Splenda, Sweet-n-Low, Aspertame, Nutra-Sweet, etc.) are a source of empty calories and a great way to gain too much weight. They can also negatively affect your baby’s ability to regulate blood sugar.

Artifical and refined sweeteners can increase your cravings for sugar (causing too much weight gain). So, the more you eat, the more you want to eat and this increases the demands on your body’s insulin production (which is also the pathway to diabetes).

A study out of The University of Texas Science Center at San Antonio suggests that the more diet sodas a person drinks, the more likely they are to become over weight.

There’s all kinds of information out there about how nasty artificial sweeteners are for you. It is a neurological toxin and can cause headaches and even seizures. Just say NO!

Stick to drinking water (filtered if you can), mineral water or lacto-fermented beverages to satisfy your thirst.

6. Commercial Fried Foods

It’s no big surprise that fried foods aren’t good for you or your baby. You are just consuming extra calories with out any nutrient benefits. They are also full of trans fat. (see #4 in Part 1 of this article)

7. Food Additives

Food additives (such as MSG) are neurotoxins (bad for the nervous system). I find it rather scary that a study found brain lesions on developing embryos associated with MSG intake.

MSG may appear in the ingredient list as: hydrolyzed protein, calcium, sodium casinate, textured protein, citric acid, soy foods, malt flavorings, flavorings, and natural flavorings – so CHECK YOUR LABELS!

As a side note, seasonings all usually contain MSG.

8. Soy

Soy food is a highly processed and refined food. It is also full of things that will block you and your developing baby from absorbing nutrients such as zinc, iron, calcium and magnesium. Consuming it also increases the mothers need for vitamin D.

Soy also contains phytoestrogens (a.k.a plant estrogen) which can negatively impact the fetal development of the reproductive organs and brain.

In recap, the eight foods to avoid during pregnancy are:

1. Junk Foods

2. Caffeine

3. Alcohol

4. Trans Fat

5. Artificial and Refined Sweetners

6. Commercial Fried Foods

7. Food Additives

8. Soy

Making at least some of these changes to your food intake will do wonders for your baby!

If you can do them all, even better 🙂