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Food Additives to Avoid During Pregnancy

author image Stacey Phillips
Stacey Phillips is a registered dietitian and nutrition writer. She has had articles and patient information handouts published in the "Renal Nutrition Forum" and the "Journal of Renal Nutrition." She holds a Bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana and a Masters degree at Central Michigan University.
Food Additives to Avoid During Pregnancy
Avoid certain food additives for a healthy pregnancy. Photo Credit: Jupiterimages/ Images

Nutrition during pregnancy is crucial in the health and development of your unborn child. While it is routinely recommended that pregnant women avoid certain fish, undercooked meats, soft cheese made with unpasteurized milk or large amounts of caffeine, food additives should also be considered.

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Be Aware of Sugar Substitutes

Aspartame, saccharin and sucralose are three common sugar substitutes. Aspartame is made of phenylalanine and aspartic acid. While generally regarded as safe for pregnant women by the FDA, avoid aspartame containing foods if you have a history of phenylketonuria or PKU. This genetic disease can create a buildup of phenylalanine because of your body's inability to break it down. In large amounts, this can cause brain defects in your unborn baby. Saccharin is less commonly used but can cross the placental barrier, and in large amounts may cause bladder problems in your unborn child. Limit saccharin intake while pregnant. Sucralose, or Splenda, a third sugar substitute, is recognized as generally safe, but limited research has been completed on sucralose and safety during pregnancy.

Monitor Food Dye Intake

Blue 1, blue 2, green 3, red 3, yellow 6 and yellow tartrazine are food colorings used in soda, juice, candy and salad dressings. Read the ingredient list on food labels to determine whether the foods you are eating have added food dyes. Limit these additives during pregnancy to reduce the risk of chromosomal damage as your baby develops. Some studies also suggest behavioral problems and a decrease in IQ in children if you consume too many products with food dyes.

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