You’d think with all of the books and websites dedicated to keeping you healthy during your pregnancy, you’d be clear on what to do and what to avoid. Unfortunately, there is an endless supply of conflicting opinions. For every one thing you hear, there is another thing proving that wrong. Your doctor tells you to exercise, but a trusted website tells you to rest. A book tells you to stop consuming caffeine, but your doctor tells you one cup per day is fine. Though, there is one piece of conflicting advice that you should follow strictly during your pregnancy. While you know how important is to maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy, avoid consuming “diet” or “low-fat” foods and drinks.

The health consequences of diet foods are still under investigation, but one added chemical in particular has been linked with pregnancy complications. Olestra, a common ingredient in low-fat chips and snacks, should be avoided during pregnancy. The chemical prevents your body from absorbing vitamins in nutrients. In other words, Olestra will rob your growing baby of the food he needs to stay healthy. When you eat a food that has Olestra in it, the compound will stay inside of you. When you eat a salad or some fruits later, the nutrients from those foods will be blocked by the Olestra. No matter how healthy the food you’re eating might be, you’ll be consuming empty calories.

That’s not to say the advice about maintaining your weight doesn’t hold true. You should be very careful not to gain too much weight when you become pregnant, because the extra weight will make complications in birth and delivery more likely. Talk to your doctor about the amount of weight you should be gaining during your pregnancy. If you’re already overweight, he or she might suggest you stay the same despite the growing baby. Women who are underweight often need to gain a lot more to support the fetus.

When you become pregnant, you need to make a commitment to health. Don’t take the easy way out by eating “low-fat” foods, because these will harm you in other ways. Get in the habit of eating a healthy, balanced diet that is high in nutrients, and work out frequently. By getting seven hours of exercise every week and staying on a strict diet, your baby will be born healthy and without any complications surrounding the delivery.

Source: Ronald Janacek: Review of the Effects of Dilution of Dietary Energy with Olestra on Energy Intake. Physiology and Behavior Volume 105 Issue 5 pp. 1124-1131 March 2012