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Sugar & Sweeteners

Content Reviewed by Dr Thomas Garrod (Dental Surgeon)

Excessive sugar and sweetners in pregnancy has the same undesirable consequences as when not pregnant.

The American Heart Association recommend that women should not consume more than 6 teaspoons or 25g of sugar per day.   

Sugar is very high in calories and when not used can convert to fat and gain in weight.

When Pregnant with the increases in hormones you will also be more susceptible to develop sore gums and even bleeding gums.  Controlling your sugar intake will help prevent these symptoms and help to reduce the chance of Periodontitis happening which is when the gums become very inflamed and swollen with regular bleeding on brushing.

Try to moderate foods which are high in sugar.  Below is a table that gives an idea of sugar content in different foods.  Its surprising how much sugar some foods contain ‘Hidden Sugar’. Our table below provides an easy reference to help keep your total daily intake under 25g.

There are slightly healthier natural alternatives to sugar being honey, raw sugar and coconut sugar but these are still high in calories so over consumption will again lead to excess fat formation if the energy provided from these calories is not used up.

What About Sweeteners?

Sweeteners are alternatives to Sugar  and they can be artificial created chemically or in form of Stevia which is extracted from plants.   They are either zero calories or very low calories therefore the issue of excess sugar being converted to fat and tooth decay are not issues when using these as an alternative to Sugar.  They are often found in products such as Yoghurts, Zero Sugar Drinks, Zero Sugar Gum and some Sauces and canned products.

However there are other side effects that these Sweeteners can have to be aware of.     A number of them have been deemed safe to use by the FDA in pregnancy but advised to moderate intake for example limiting to 5 sticks of no sugar chewing gum a day or only one diet drink.  Excessive amounts can lead to side effects such as headaches and upset tummys, bloating or diarrhea.  The table below advises which ones are safe and which ones are not.

Check the back of the products to see which sweeteners they contain.

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