Pregnancy comes with a new set of rules, and many new mothers-to-be are flooded with information on how to best nurture your future bundle of joy. While it is common knowledge that you should avoid alcohol, drugs and smoking, you should also steer clear of less discussed food additives during pregnancy.
Monosodium glutamate is a flavor enhancer commonly used in Asian foods as well as bouillon and other prepared foods. While MSG itself has been classified as safe to consume by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, MSG contains high levels of sodium, so if you’re retaining water or monitoring your salt consumption, you should avoid foods with MSG as a listed additive.
Aspartame is considered safe to use unless you have the genetic disease phenylketonuria, in which case it should be avoided. Saccharin may increase the risk of fetal bladder problems, and many doctors recommend it be avoided. Splenda, the brand name for sucralose, is considered safe for use, but there have been no long term studies on the safety of sucralose use during pregnancy.
Olean, or Olestra, is a fat-substitute product. Olean depletes the body of several vitamins and should be avoided during pregnancy.
It’s important that you keep in mind the “unlisted” additives on fruits and vegetables: pesticides that may be on the surface of the produce. Always wash fresh fruits and vegetables before eating or cooking; it’s a good idea to eat organically grown food as much as possible to avoid unseen additives.