Got Junk Food Pregnancy Cravings?

junk food pizza hot fogs burgers fries fried chicken donuts chipsIf a new study out of Australia is true, pregnant women everywhere—and their offspring—are in deep trouble! According to the findings, moms who eat junk food while pregnant or breastfeeding have already turned their babies into junk food addicts, jonesing for fat and sugar before they can even ask for it.

I know what you’re thinking: I thought I was supposed to be eating for two? Sadly, when you’re pregnant, you only need an extra 150 to 200 calories a day in the first trimester (the equivalent of a 6 oz. low-fat yogurt) and 300 calories a day in the second and third (about half a sandwich and a glass of skim milk).

Whether you’re craving something sweet, sour, or tart, you’re not alone! Even celebrities, can’t resist cheating on their usually-strict diets. How could we forget Jessica Simpson’s “Slutty Brownies,” the super-decadent splurge she gave into with her first pregnancy— before she joined Weight Watchers.

Confession time: I, too, had severe pregnancy cravings. Besides healthy fruits, I wanted chocolate, ice cream, and donuts (which I normally never ate)! And I needed vinegar on everything—balsamic vinegar on salads and vegetables and salt and vinegar potato chips (another thing I never ate until I was pregnant, but that pregnancy craving seems to have lingered post-baby. Oops!).

While the occasional indulgence is fine (mmm…a chocolate chip cookie), researchers warn that a mom’s overly-active pregnancy cravings can cause overeating, food addiction and obesity in your unborn child. Like we need more things to feel guilty about before the baby’s even born!

The good news is that research also shows that many of the long-term health problems associated with junk food addictions can be avoided if the child has a healthy diet once weaned from a junk-food junkie mom. Though the predisposition for loving sweets and fatty foods will always be there for the child, a healthy body weight can be maintained through proper diet and exercise. So if you’re going to have that extra scoop of Ben & Jerry’s Red Velvet Cake ice cream, be prepared to be active with your family, and to show your child that veggies can be yummy too!

Tell us what you think: What food cravings are you having? Do you believe eating junk food while pregnant can cause your child to be a junk food addict? Leave your comments below. 

How to Eat Healthy During Pregnancy:Decoding Pregnancy Cravings
How to Eat Healthy During Pregnancy:Decoding Pregnancy Cravings
How to Eat Healthy During Pregnancy:Decoding Pregnancy Cravings

Image of junk food courtesy of Shutterstock.

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  1. by Renzy

    On May 5, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    I craved banana flavoured anything including the real fruit the first two trimesters and the last trimester was homemade BBQ’d hamburgers. Good thing Jr was a late summer baby or hubby would have been outside in 3ft of snow cooking them for me. I still love bananas but soon as I was done breastfeeding I went back to hating hamburgers LOL. My son loves bananas still at age 5, we are never without them in the house and while he likes hamburgers, it’s not an obsession. However I know the banana craving was for the potassium and magnesium as the pre natal vitamin pills aren’t strong on those and the hamburgers were due to my low iron and the fact that I couldn’t take the pills as they made me puke. As for the junk food – I ate a lot less of it while pregnant than now because I was conscious of everything that went into my body. While cravings are real, they have an underlying cause due to a lack of something in the diet, if you get what you are lacking in a healthy food, the unhealthy cravings go away.

  2. by NoAdditives

    On May 5, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    My first pregnancy was the one I gave into cravings the most (after the morning sickness ended). That child has the highest level of self-moderation. I ate loads of candy and sweets while pregnant and she can’t even finish a cupcake.

    I had gestational diabetes with my second, and had to watch what I ate. He turned out to be an eating machine, drinking 6 ounces bottles a couple of days after he was born, but even he doesn’t go crazy with junk food, even when it’s in front of him at a party. He’ll opt for fruit instead of potato chips.

    For my third pregnancy, we had moved out of the city, so giving into cravings wasn’t as easy. I couldn’t order pizza or get fast food whenever I wanted it. I had to make myself wait and I never stocked up on anything at the store because I knew I’d get tired of it before I could eat it all. That little one is crazy for sweets. She climbed onto the table at about 10 months old to steal, and eat, a big cupcake.

    I’ve had more freedom this time around, since I’ve been going to school. I can go out for a double bacon cheeseburger and chocolate milkshake, or nachos, or pizza, if I want to. And I do. But I also have huge vegetable/salad cravings and generally eat healthy foods. So I guess we’ll wait and see how this baby turns out.

    None of my kids are overweight, the cupcake thief is the skinniest of them all. I think the dietary habits parents set up after the baby is born are what is most important. Sure, a child may have a preference for junk food if the mother eats it during pregnancy, but that doesn’t mean they won’t learn moderation. It also doesn’t mean that they will shun all healthy foods either. My kids LOVE vegetables and often ask for Persian cucumbers as dessert.

    I think studies like these fail to take the big picture into consideration. Is a pregnant woman who already indulges in junk food more likely to crave it? Probably. Is that same woman also more likely to continue eating junk food after her baby is born? Probably. And that also probably means her child will consume the junk food anyway. But, what about a woman who indulges in cravings during pregnancy but returns to normal, healthy eating after her baby is born or is done nursing? Will that child still be more likely to have weight problems? Or will that child grow up to be perfectly healthy because of the mother’s normal healthy eating habits?

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