A healthy eating plan during pregnancy can ensure that you and your baby get the required nutrients. And when you are eating for two, you need to take additional care to avoid anything that has the potential to cause harm. Excess intake of unhealthy foods, such as sugar, can have serious consequences during pregnancy.
According to a study, sugar is more addictive than cocaine, which is perhaps why you cannot stop with just one donut or cupcake. As much as you may love sweets and sugary foods, consuming excess sugar is never a good idea when you are pregnant.
Reasons to Avoid Excess Sugar While You’re Pregnant
1. Sugar increases the chances of weight gain during pregnancy. If you’ve been a bit overweight before pregnancy, chances are you might gain more weight during pregnancy. Some weight gain during pregnancy is normal, but so much so that it borders on obesity is not. A diet filled with unhealthy foods and excess sugar will only hasten weight gain and make it difficult to lose the extra kilos post-pregnancy.
2. You may not see it right away, but studies show that too much sugar consumption during pregnancy can alter your child’s blood vessel structure and increase the risk of heart disease. The results may show up later in your little one’s life. So every time you crave for something sweet, just remember that it’s more harmful to your child than it is to you.
3. Excess sugar intake during pregnancy can lead to complications such as preterm delivery, stillbirth, miscarriage, sleep apnea, cesarean section, etc. Pregnant women who consume excess sugar can develop an infection and other problems like blood clots during delivery.
4. During pregnancy, excess sugars can lead to nausea or vomiting. Anything that is high in sugar or carbohydrates can increase the likelihood of you feeling sick or nauseated. Especially when you are pregnant, the excess sugar tends to aggravate pregnancy symptoms, of which vomiting is one. Vomiting can be at its peak during pregnancy, depending on the amount of GI carbs that go into your body through diet.
5. Sugar can impact the weight of your baby. If you think your sugar cravings end once the baby is born, then think again. The amount of sugar you consume might affect your baby’s tastes later in life. Your child may develop a sweet tooth as she or he grows. The craving can gradually turn into an addiction, with your kid consuming too much sugar leading to conditions such as obesity and diabetes.
6. If you thought that sugar boosts your energy, you are wrong. Sugar has the opposite reaction and causes fatigue in pregnant women. Sugary foods temporarily spike the energy levels and then lead to a sudden fall in the sugar levels, leaving you feeling tired and lethargic all day. Overindulging in something sweet can make you lazy and cranky too.
7. Excess sugar can lead to nutritional deficiency. Sugary foods are mostly empty calories, and the cravings can make you replace healthy foods with sugary foods, causing a nutrient deficiency. You miss out on all the nutrients you need for yourself and your child.
8. Sugar cravings are linked to allergies in kids. Studies show that excess sugar consumption by the mom increases the risk of allergies in children and the risk of developing asthma at a young age.
9. Overconsumption of sugar can make kids overweight, but it can also lead to underweight kids. Your baby might be born underweight due to excess sugar intake and lack of healthy nutrition. Experts recommend a healthy diet during pregnancy so that the baby’s birth weight is ideal and not more or less.
10. Excess fructose can affect the fetal growth. When you consume a diet rich in sugars during pregnancy, it can affect the growth of your baby. It can lead to a fatty liver syndrome, which also affects the fetal metabolism. That’s not it; your child would stand a risk of type 2 diabetes later in life. The excess fructose could ultimately affect the placenta and harm your unborn baby.
Apart from these, there are a few other health complications you need to consider while adding sugar to your diet. The best way to avoid these complications is to control your sugar cravings during pregnancy.
How to Manage Sugar Cravings
Sugar is unhealthy for all, whether an adult or a baby. By simply avoiding sugar, you can promote a healthy future for your baby. However, that is not easy, since hormonal imbalance can drive up your cravings for sugar, and you tend to eat sweet or sugary foods more. Here, we tell you how to manage these cravings smartly.
- Replace sugar with a healthy alternative.
- You can include foods that are low-glycemic, such as whole grains, barley, oatmeal, fruits, and vegetables to control your sugar levels.
- Probiotics are stomach-friendly foods and help maintain healthy glucose levels.
- You can also consume proteins and healthy fats in nuts and avocados to boost your energy. You can also try fiber-rich foods that take longer to digest and can prevent a spike in sugar levels.
- Satisfy your sweet tooth, but naturally with veggies and fruits.
- Consuming plenty of greens and water will not only help you manage these cravings but also keeps your nutrition levels high.
That said, it is okay to indulge in sweet treats once in a while, as long as you limit the amount. Sugar is addictive but satiating your sweet tooth once in a while is not bad. However, extra care about the diet is necessary when you are pregnant, so talk to your doctor about the ideal sugar intake based on your metabolism, blood sugar levels and weight.
If necessary, cut down on sugar intake or avoid it completely to stay safe and healthy during pregnancy. Follow a diet filled with nutrient-rich foods that also have natural sugars. You can also talk to your doctor about healthy and safe sugar alternatives that can be used to satisfy your sweet cravings.