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Pregnancy Nutrition Book : Eating for Two (part 3) - Face the Fat , Apply the Brakes on Sugar

- 7 Kinds Of Fruit That Pregnant Women Shouldn’t Eat
- How to have natural miscarriage
- Foods That Cause Miscarriage
- Signs Proving You Have Boy Pregnancy

5. Powerful Protein

Protein is a powerful macronutrient. During pregnancy, protein provides the material needed for the physical growth and cellular development of the growing baby. Protein is also needed to build the mother’s placenta, amniotic tissue, and other maternal tissues. A woman’s blood volume increases by almost 50 percent during pregnancy, and additional protein is needed to produce those new blood cells.

A low protein intake during pregnancy can increase the risk of having a low birth-weight baby. These babies are more prone to health problems and learning disabilities later in life.

During your pregnancy, you need slightly more protein than you did before, and during breastfeeding your needs will continue to increase.

The body does not store protein, so you must consume a continuous supply. You need about 10 extra grams of protein from your extra daily calories, or 60 grams of protein daily, compared with the 50 grams a non-pregnant woman requires. Women expecting multiple babies may need more. Here are some examples of where you might find an extra 10 grams of protein:

• In a 1.5-ounce serving of lean meat

• In about 10 ounces of fat-free milk

• In 1.5 ounces of canned tuna in water

Most women do not have a problem meeting their protein requirements. Eating plenty of lean meat, fish, eggs, legumes, and dried beans as well as increasing your dairy servings will ensure you meet your protein needs. If you are a vegetarian and consume plenty of legumes, grain products, vegetables, fruits, and soy foods, you should not have a problem consuming the recommended amount of protein.

6. Face the Fat

Fat is an important nutrient that sometimes gets a bad rap. Its major functions in the body include providing an energy source, aiding in the absorption and transport of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, cushioning organs, and regulating body temperature. All women, pregnant or not, should get 20 to 35 percent of their calories from fat. Fat can be dangerous to health if consumed in excess or if the wrong kinds of fat are eaten. It is important to include fat in your daily diet but in moderation. Fat is a very concentrated source of calories. A gram of fat has 9 calories, twice as many as a gram of carbohydrates or protein (both of which contain 4 calories per gram). A small amount of fat can go a long way!

How Many Fats Are There?

There are different types of triglycerides, or dietary fats. Some of these fats are more harmful than others. The major kinds of fats in the foods we eat are saturated, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, and trans-fatty acids or hydrogenated fats. The unsaturated fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated) are referred to as the “healthy” fats. These fats can help to lower cholesterol levels, and they also have heart-protective factors. Most of the fat in your diet should be unsaturated.

Sources of monounsaturated fats include certain plant-based oils, such as olive, canola, and peanut. Avocados are also good sources of monounsaturated fats. Sources of polyunsaturated fats include certain other plant-based oils such as corn, cottonseed, safflower, sunflower, sesame, and soybean. Nuts and seeds are also good sources. This group also includes the omega-3 fatty acids found in some fish. There are two polyunsaturated essential fatty acids that your body does not make and you must get from the food you consume. These two fatty acids are linoleic acid (or omega-6) and linolenic acid (or omega-3).

Eating a totally fat-free diet is not part of a healthy eating style. Fat is an essential nutrient, and some fats—such as omega-3 fatty acids—are necessary for certain parts of a baby’s development. A totally fat-free diet may also fail to provide sufficient calories.

Saturated fats and trans-fatty acids tend to increase blood cholesterol levels, which can lead to health problems such as heart disease and stroke. The major sources of saturated fat are animal foods such as meat, poultry, and whole-milk dairy products. However, some plant sources also provide saturated fat, including palm, palm kernel, and coconut oils. Food that contains trans-fats includes some margarines, cookies, crackers, and other commercial baked goods made with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, as well as French fries, donuts, and other commercial fried foods.

Slash the Fat

Fat is definitely a needed nutrient in a healthy diet. The problem is that most Americans consume too much and the wrong kinds. Don’t cut fat completely out of your diet, but it is important to cut back and to choose the right types. This means lowering your intake of dietary cholesterol and saturated fat. You should also lower your blood cholesterol or maintain it at safe levels as a way of decreasing your risk for heart disease. You can cut the fat and cholesterol from your meals without losing any flavor. For example, try using egg whites or egg substitute in place of whole eggs. Choose leaner meats, cook with skinless poultry and fish, or occasionally opt for a vegetarian meal with beans or soy products as your main protein source. Read the nutrition facts panel to keep an eye on your daily intake of total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol.

Cholesterol is not the same as fat. Cholesterol is a fat-like substance, but it has a different structure and different functions in the body than fat does. Because cholesterol provides no energy to the body, it has no calories.

7. Apply the Brakes on Sugar

How bad is sugar? In moderation, it can be part of a healthy diet. Sugar belongs to the carbohydrate group, which also includes starches and fibers. Natural sugars are found in fruit (in the form of fructose) and milk (as lactose). Sugar becomes a dietary culprit when it is added to other foods (usually processed items). Major sources of added sugar are those found in soft drinks, candy, pastries, cookies, ice cream, and other sweets. Although the body does not know the difference between sugar and complex carbohydrates, most sugars are referred to as “empty calories” because they provide calories but very little or no nutritional value. Satisfy your sweet tooth, but do it in moderation.

How Much Is Too Much?

The typical American diet is packed with too much sugar, and nutrition experts agree that Americans need to cut back. The idea behind a healthy pregnancy diet is to eat foods that really count toward your nutritional intake. Eating too many sugary foods means lots of extra calories and very little nutrition. Eating too many of these foods also tends to bump out the more nutritious foods that you should be choosing. Foods with lots of added sugar should only be occasional treats, not regular snacks.

Though there is no established recommended daily allowance (RDA) for sugar, you should concentrate of getting the bulk of your carbohydrates from complex sources—such as breads, rice, and pasta—and most of your simple carbohydrates from fruits and dairy products, which also contain vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Sweet, Sweet Food Labels

The FDA requires sugar content to be included on all nutrition facts panels. The panel lists total carbohydrates and sugar in terms of grams per serving. Sugar is part of the total carbohydrate amount that is listed. If you purchase a food with added sugar, make sure it also provides plenty of nutrients such as vitamins and minerals, and fiber.

When checking the ingredient labels on packaged food, you will find all types of sweeteners listed. The suffix “-ose” (fructose, sucrose, lactose) indicates that an ingredient is a form of sugar. Look for these other ingredients that indicate added sugar: brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, fruit juice concentrate, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, lactose, molasses, and raw sugar.

If you see a nutritional claim with the word “sugar” on the front of a packaged label, it is important to understand what that claim means.

What It Says     What It Means
Calorie-free Less than 5 calories
Sugar-free Less than 0.5 grams sugar per serving
Reduced sugar or less sugar At least 25% less* sugar or sugars per serving
No added sugars, without added sugars, no sugar No sugars added during processing or packing, including ingredients that contain sugar such as juice or dry fruit

*As compared with a standard serving size of the traditional food.

Use these guidelines to help you choose foods wisely to ensure you’re getting the nutrition you need to help grow a healthy baby.

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