Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy: Processed Foods
Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy: Processed Foods

Processed foods are foods that have been changed from their natural state to improve shelf life and taste. When you stroll down the aisle of most grocery stores, you see shelves and freezers stocked with processed goods. These items are essentially the types of foods to avoid during pregnancy.

When you are pregnant, your unborn baby relies on the things you eat to provide him with the nutrients he needs to develop properly. Processed foods are loaded with trans fat, sugar, salt and other unhealthy ingredients that can put your baby’s health at risk. Examples of processed foods to avoid during pregnancy include:

• canned food
• frozen fish sticks and chicken nuggets
• cakes and cookies
• microwave meals
• cheese
• pasteurized milk
• canned meats like spam and Vienna sausages
• hot dogs, bologna, sausage and lunch meats.
• white flour
• pasta
• boxed meals
• store-bought juice

If most women knew the effects processed food additives can have on their babies’ health, they wouldn’t dare include them in their pregnancy diet.

Processed Foods Contain Sugar

Foods and drinks that contain sugar and excessive amounts of salt are foods to avoid during pregnancy. When you are pregnant, the sugar you eat is quickly absorbed into the blood. Your pancreas is responsible for converting this sugar into insulin. If your pancreas can’t produce enough insulin to keep up with your body’s needs, it can lead to gestational diabetes.

Although gestational diabetes goes away after giving birth, some women who suffer from this condition during pregnancy go on to develop type 2 diabetes later in life. Sugar also feeds cancer, impairs DNA structure, causes weight gain, weakens eyesight, contributes to osteoporosis, increases the growth of candida albicans, and robs you of your youthful appearance.

Processed Foods Contain Excessive Amounts of Salt

While too much salt is not the primary contributor to high blood pressure during pregnancy, it is believed to play a role in the development of this condition. Hypertension increases your risks of heart attack, stroke and narrows the vessels that supply nutrients and oxygen to your unborn baby. This condition can also lead to:

• low birth weight
• slow fetal growth
• preterm delivery
• preeclampsia
• placental abruption

Processed Foods Contain Unhealthy Trans fats

Trans fats, sometimes labeled “partially hydrogenated oil,” are man-made fats that are created by a process called hydrogenation. During this process, liquid vegetable oil is combined with hydrogen atoms to turn it into a solid. This ingredient is commonly found in fried foods like French fries and chicken, and store-bought baked goods like cookies, crackers, cakes and pies.

Trans fatty acids raise bad cholesterol, triglycerides and insulin, and lowers good HDL cholesterol. This type of fat not only wreaks havoc on your cholesterol level, it promotes cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity and immune dysfunction.

Trans fat can also increase your risk of infertility, so if you plan on having more children, this is not something you want to put in your body. You can easily identify foods that contain trans fat because manufacturers are required to clearly label foods that contain this ingredient.

Be very careful though, sometimes you’ll see foods labeled, “0 grams of trans fat.” This doesn’t necessarily mean it does not contain any trans fat at all, it simply means that it has less than 0.5 grams of this ingredient per serving. If you eat more than one serving, those 0.5 grams of trans fat can really add up.

Processed foods are full of salt, sugar and trans fats, none of which are good for you or your unborn baby. Give your baby a healthy start in life by being mindful of what you eat and eliminating unhealthy processed foods from your pregnancy diet.

Proper nutrition is the key to a healthy pregnancy. To learn all about foods to avoid during pregnancy visit


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