I know it’s the last thing you want to hear, especially if pregnant…sugar can cause complications in your pregnancy. Now, don’t freak out. Plenty of women have eaten sugar and had healthy pregnancies. But the facts are that sugar is not only void of any nutritional value, it also lowers your immunity, feeds fungus, and can lead to diabetes. And when you are pregnant, these facts are even more of a big deal.
Carrying another being requires more nutrients, and if you are constantly filling your stomach with empty calories, calories that actually deplete your nutrient stores, you are robbing your baby of the vitamins and minerals he/she needs. In a severe case, this can negatively affect the growth and development of the fetus.
Sugar is also known to lower immunity because it raises insulin levels, and taxes the liver and adrenals – all which hinder the immune system to fight off other incoming pathogens, as it is occupied with taking care of the surge of sugar in the body.
Yeast and fungus issues can be a huge problem for many pregnant women. Pregnancy naturally raises the sugar content, and the pH of the vagina, creating a more inviting environment to yeast and fungus. By avoiding simple sugars and white flours and wheat, you can help minimize this problem, making your pregnancy experience more comfortable.
Other serious reasons to minimize the sugar while pregnant include developing gestational diabetes. While this only effects a small percentage of all pregnant women, it means a higher risk for developing diabetes later in life and of birthing a larger baby.
During the later stages of pregnancy, the hormones produced by the placenta can inhibit insulin, causing insulin resistance. Without insulin to transport sugar (glucose) into the cell, sugar saturates the blood, leading to (gestational) diabetes. The larger the pancreas grows, the more of these hormones (estrogen, cortisol, and human placental lactogen) are produced, and the chances of insulin resistance is greater.
By consuming sugar and white flour, you complicate the insulin issue, since eating these foods dumps a large load of glucose into the blood…demanding an equally large production of insulin to move the glucose out of the blood. Normally, the pancreas is able to make additional insulin to overcome insulin resistance and keep up with the circulating glucose. However, if the pancreas cannot keep up with a higher demand of insulin production to account for the glucose circulating in the blood, glucose levels remain high and gestational diabetes manifests.
Being pregnant doesn’t mean you have to eliminate all sugars and flours altogether. Just be wise and mindful of how much you do eat. Look for alternative ways to satisfy your sweet tooth that nourish you too — like fruit, smoothies, and sugar free treats made with stevia and dates!
Here’s to a healthy and vibrant pregnancy!