6 Apr 2023 | 6 min Read
Author | 799 Articles
Food cravings are a normal part of pregnancy, and sugar cravings constitute a big part of them. But can eating too much sugar during pregnancy harm your baby? In this post, we help answer this question and also discuss possible side effects of excess sugar intake during this crucial time.
You should consume sugar in limited amounts as it just adds to your calories and does not offer any nutritional benefits / Image credit: Freepik
Yes, you can safely consume sugar and sugary foods during pregnancy in moderation. However, if you have gestational diabetes, then you have to be extra careful about your sugar intake.
But keep in mind that sugary foods like candies, cakes, chocolates, and soft drinks contain large amounts of refined sugar and offer zero nutritional value. So, if you have been eating them frequently, it’s a good idea to switch to healthier options, such as fruits, which have natural sugars and are filled with essential vitamins and minerals.
There is no standard recommendation for sugar consumption during pregnancy. The ideal sugar intake during pregnancy depends on your blood sugar levels, metabolic rate, and body weight.
In any case, it’s good to limit your sugar consumption to 25 grams or less per day. If you have gestational diabetes, then this amount may vary, depending on your condition. Make sure to consult your healthcare provider before to understand how much sugar can you consume on a daily basis.
Overeating foods rich in sugar and carbohydrates may have an impact on your growing baby. Also, excess sugar in your blood due to underlying health conditions like uncontrolled type 2 diabetes or gestational diabetes can harm your baby.
Extra sugar can cross the placenta and increase your baby’s blood sugar levels in the womb. This may lead to increased insulin production in your baby’s body, and make them grow larger, a condition that is known as macrosomia.
Delivering a large baby can lead to pregnancy complications, and require caesarean section. This condition is also associated with premature birth and life-threatening infections.
Excess sugar intake can cause unhealthy weight gain and increase the risk of gestational diabetes / Image credit: Freepik
Excess sugar consumption only adds empty calories and deprives you of essential nutrients during pregnancy. Some of its other side effects include
Include fibre and protein-rich foods in your pregnancy diet to maintain your blood sugar levels and curb sweet cravings / Image credit: Freepik
Regular exercise and an improved diet can help lower your blood sugar levels naturally. We have discussed a few healthy food items that you can consider including in your pregnancy diet.
Include foods that have a low glycemic index, such as beans, whole grains, barley, fruits, oatmeal, and vegetables. These foods take longer to digest and prevent fluctuations in your blood sugar levels.
Probiotics are stomach-friendly bacteria that encourage healthy digestion. They regulate your metabolism and maintain normal blood sugar levels. Yogurt is one of the best probiotics that you can take during pregnancy.
Insoluble fibre helps maintain your digestive health, and soluble fibre improves your sugar levels. Legumes and oats have the highest level of soluble fibres, and you can find soluble fibre in whole wheat foods. Vegetables and fruits also contain both kinds of fibre.
Protein-rich foods help control your blood sugar levels, keep you full for longer, and boost your energy levels. Eggs, poultry, and nuts are great sources of lean proteins. Healthy fats found in olive oil, nuts, and avocados also keep you satiated and prevent cravings for sugar-rich foods.
Sugar is addictive, and its craving might increase during pregnancy. Excessive consumption of sugar during pregnancy can additionally increase the risk of gestational diabetes and other pregnancy complications, such as nutritional deficiencies.
To avoid these risks, replace refined sugars and include more fruits and natural sweeteners in your diet to curb your sweet cravings. Also, make sure to scan through the ingredients list of packaged foods, and avoid the ones that contain high levels of sugar.
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Cover Image Credit: Freepik.com
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