Eating Junk Food While Pregnant - Is It Good or Bad?

Eating Junk Food During Pregnancy – Is It Safe for You & Baby?

Medically Reviewed By
Gayatri Dawda (Nutritionist)
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Pregnancy is a delicate time and now that you are expecting a baby, you have to be very careful about what you eat. What you eat is what your baby (and you) will become, so if you were thinking a couple of burgers or pizza every week won’t affect your health, you might be wrong. Junk food should be avoided, and more so in pregnancy as it is not good for the baby’s development. It’s not good for the pregnant woman’s health as well.

While pregnancy cravings might make you want to reach out for your favourite ice cream or burger, it may not be safe. Read this article to learn about the harmful effects of eating junk food during pregnancy. Also, learn how you can stop yourself from eating junk!

Video : This Is Why Eating Junk Food During Pregnancy Is a No No!

Harmful Effects of Eating Fast/Junk Food While Pregnant 

There are several harmful effects of eating fast food or junk food while pregnant. Not only are junk foods processed but they are also highly concentrated sources of salt, sugar, and processed fats. Junk food may also contain artificial colours, flavours and chemicals.  Here are 10 harmful effects of eating fast/junk food while being pregnant:

1. It Offers Zero Nutrition

Sugar, salt, fats, and everything unhealthy – this is junk foods summarised in a nutshell. Your baby needs a healthy dose of essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and healthy fats for his/her proper growth and development. If you consume junk food, you and your baby will not receive these important nutrients and organs such as the brain, heart, lungs, and even the bones get affected in the process!

2. It May Result in Obesity

Junk food leads to obesity when overindulged in. Obesity then becomes a cause of preeclampsia, preterm labour, miscarriage, high birth weight, and birth defects.

3. It May Result in Unhealthy Dietary Preferences

Junk foods don’t wipe their slate clean once you’re done eating them. Even after you’ve consumed them, slowly and subtly, they alter your unborn baby’s eating preferences from the inside. You’ll notice your baby craving unhealthy and processed foods after being born, and this leads to health implications down the line.

4. It May Be a Cause of Allergies and Asthma

As per reports, children of parents who ate junk foods during pregnancy had an increased risk of allergies and asthma.

5. It May Alter Brain Chemistry

Women who eat junk foods during pregnancy can alter their babies’ brain chemistry and program them to be addicted to unhealthy food sources. Children will no longer experience ‘the-feel-good’ hormones through eating healthy food and thus be in bad physical/mental shape.

6. It Increases the Risk of Heart Disease

Eating junk food too much can become a cause of heart disease. If you continue to advocate the habit of junk food, your kids will experience these risks early on in their lives and so will you.

It Increases the Risk of Heart Disease

7. It May Cause Dysfunctional Peripheral Insulin

Overconsumption of junk food may cause dysfunctional peripheral insulin which may become a potent cause of obesity in a child.

8. It May Cause Digestive Problems

Eating junk food can cause bloating, indigestion and gas, and interfere with your regular cycles of healthy bowel movements. Since junk food doesn’t have essential fibre content, it can impact your digestive health.

9. It May Increase the Risk of Gestational Diabetes

Junk foods lead to an increased risk of gestational diabetes since it is high in sugar and calorific content. Gestational diabetes can create serious problems during pregnancy and delivery. Your baby may be born with excess birth weight or be at risk of preterm birth.

It May Increase the Risk of Gestational Diabetes

Junk Food in Pregnancy: How Much Is Too Much?

Whether it is okay to eat junk food while pregnant or not depends on your portions. Although an occasional slice of pizza or a mini burger doesn’t hurt, pregnant women must take care of portions whenever they eat junk food.

Tips to Stop Junk Food Cravings

On certain days, you might crave for unhealthy food during pregnancy. Here’s what you can do when you do crave for a pizza or burger.

  • Stock up on healthy snacks. Dates, anjeer, fruits, avocados, peanuts, boiled eggs, puffed makhanas are some healthy snacks you should consider. You will also get your dose of essential vitamins and protein from these sources. It is recommended to look for healthy substitutes for pregnancy food cravings, such as Greek yoghurt instead of ice-cream.

pregnant woman eating  yoghurt

  • Cook at home. This will save up on grocery bills plus save your health as well! It’s good for your kids too since you’ll be setting model examples. Make baked foods over fried substances for optimal nutrition and well-being.
  • Distract yourself from cravings by going for a walk or doing something else whenever cravings strike. In time, cravings slowly dissipate, and you’ll be getting off the vicious junk food addiction cycle.

pregnant woman avoiding burger

  • Plan your daily meals for the week. By knowing what you’ll be eating later on, you’ll be eliminating thoughts and cravings plus be healthy!
  • Eat small meals spread throughout the day. This will eliminate hunger, regulate metabolism, and reduce unhealthy food cravings.
  • Relax a little. Take up yoga or meditation and learn to live mindfully. High-stress levels lead to junk food cravings, and by eliminating stress from your life, you win your upcoming battles.

Take extra care when eating out and eat healthy whenever possible. Exercise a little, eat frequently but healthily, and, when you stick to consistency, you’ll watch those cravings disappear. Happy motherhood!

Also Read: Healthy Snacks for Pregnant Women

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