Sweet and Sour: Kicking The Sugar Habit During Pregnancy
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By Mia Bolaris-Forget
Every gal wants to be as sweet as sugar and we’re all familiar with the adage about little girls being made of sugar and spice. And, now it seems that, at least part that precept may hold some truth; as experts suggest that women, though bad for us, often crave sugar during pregnancy.
Still, while not socially as maligned as smoking, drinking or engaging in taking recreational drugs during pregnancy, sugar, say experts can be just as “bad” and harmful to you and your baby. And, what’s worse is that many ladies are even encouraged to indulge their (sugar) cravings, especially during this crucial time in their, and their baby’s life.
In addition, many women, albeit falsely, are let to believe that once they get a positive result on their pregnancy test, they also get carte blanche to eat whatever they please, giving into their often insatiable cravings. And, while it may seem like the body is begging for a sugary treat, experts suggest it’s actually calling for more regular healthful meals and snacks throughout the day. Remember, women who are pregnant experience a much greater blood supply and abundance of hormones than those who are not pregnant and that translates into more frequent dips in your blood sugar, making skipping meals and dieting a major “no-no”. In fact, women who don’t eat regularly during pregnancy, often make the worst choices for them and their baby, more often than not, reaching for a quick fix candy bar or a piece of sugar-laden cake.
Sugary foods should, say experts, be avoided by everyone. Known to result in weight gain, tooth decay, gum disease, intense and rapid fluctuations in blood sugar, lower immunity, displaced minerals, increased risk for heart disease and premature aging, to name a few, it’s can be even more detrimental to expecting moms.
During pregnancy sugar is quickly absorbed into the blood making it necessary to the body to require more insulin for the regulation of this added sugar, and if you’re consuming more sugar than usual or necessary your pancreas will experience difficulty in keeping up with the increased insulin demand, and if your pancreas can’t keep up with it’s added demand, your blood sugar levels stay high resulting in full blown gestational diabetes, which is merely insulin intolerance.
This can also make pregnant woman gain more weight and may also cause your baby to grow too large too.
Marcrosomia is a condition where the child becomes larger than normal as a result of consistently increased blood sugar levels in the mom, and it can increase the risk of birthing complication and also put your newborn at risk for childhood obesity.
Pregnancy related dental problems may be another issue faced by expectant moms with high blood sugar levels. These conditions are primarily caused by toxins resulting from periodontal disease and have been proven to cross the placental barrier and reach the fetus, possibly resulting in premature birth and birth defects. In fact, ladies who experience periodontal disease are seven times at greater risk for premature delivery than expectant moms with healthy gums.
Experts add that it’s additionally recommended and wise to eliminate sugar from your diet and your home BEFORE your child arrives. Kids who regularly enjoy sugary treats are prone to increased adrenal levels, hyperactivity, anxiety, depression, concentration difficulties, low immunity, moodiness, sleeplessness, tooth decay, obesity, weight issues, and lifelong health issues and disease.
And, while most of us think of white crystallize granuals when we think of sugar, pros point out that sugar comes in many forms and can be found in many foods. Remember, most packaged goods and foods contain both sodium and sugar (both bad for you)…well, except for some sugars found in fruits and veggies. And, if you “must” by pre-packaged foods it’s best to thoroughly read the labels first. Look for ingredients ending in “ose”, such as Fructose, dextrose, and glucose. Keep in mind that most breads contain sugar as does pizza (especially made of white bread), soda, pastries, cakes, cookies, and other decadent treats including some fruit-based yogurts and other “healthful” snacks.
In addition, other foods including dairy and starches turn to sugar in your body much more easily and readily than do high quality proteins and raw produce but it’s not always in an expectant mom’s best interest to alter all her eating habits and all at once, especially if she’s going to be surrounded by friends and family that enjoy many of her “favourite foods”.
Note that white sugar is refined which means that it’s had all the “good stuff” removed, via chemical procession and is equated with “poison”, as are most, if not all sugar substitutes. And, while white sugar may be occasionally “okay”, the latter have been linked to a host of long-term health conditions, some quite dangerous, and should be avoided at every and all costs.
If it’s something sweet you “crave” experts suggest natural sweeteners made my “mother nature”, enjoyed preferably in their raw forms and used sparingly. Consider Blackstrap molasses or buckwheat and other forms of honey for coffee and other backed goods as well as stevia (though it hasn’t yet been tested for its effects on pregnant women), or even sugar in the ray, preferably varieties that are organic and fair trade, and even dark, organic fair trade chocolate, ideal for quelling your cocoa cravings, upping antioxidants and possibly even satiating your stress levels, especially if you need a sugar fix.
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