New research from London’s Royal Veterinary College indicates that pregnant women who regularly indulge in junk foods during pregnancy may produce children with larger fat cells and more active obesity-linked genes. In studies carried out on rats, babies of junk-food-fed rats were more likely to become obese later in life than babies fed a healthy diet during pregnancy.
It’s true that pregnancy cravings for junk food can be intense, both physically and emotionally. When I was pregnant, I refered to it as my “prego entitlement”. Every now and then, I would indulge my cravings for reasons that were varied, but ultimately it came down to the fact that I felt I “deserved” it. I was pregnant in the summer in Arizona and we had a huge house to clean and no air conditioning! I DESERVED a big bowl of ice cream! But every now and then is not the problem. It’s when your diet starts to look like a fast food menu that you’re setting yourself and your child up for some potentially serious problems. And if this is the trend now, what about the future generations? Theoretically, those fat cells are only going to get bigger, and obesity will no longer be something that happens because of overeating or eating an unhealthy diet. It could become something that future generations experience simply by existing. That’s a sad looking future, in my opinion.
So what can we do when we’re experiencing those intense cravings? Seek healthy alternatives, and be prepared! Is your sweet tooth calling? Make sure to have lots of freshly cut fruit waiting for you in the fridge. Need some potato chips right now? When the urge to snack on salty, greasy foods hits, try getting your fix from eating a serving of lightly salted nuts or baked whole-grain crackers (there are flavored versions that are really yummy). Ask your Total Mommy Fitness trainer for more information on healthy alternatives to junk foods and how to control prenatal cravings.