There are a ton of “strongly-held incorrect beliefs” (as my father likes to call them) in my field.
The conventional prenatal nutrition guidelines inadvertently – or sometimes – purposefully advocate for a diet that leaves out some of nature’s most nutrient-dense, life-giving foods!
My books, Real Food for Gestational Diabetes and Real Food for Pregnancy, tackle many of these myths head-on (with oodles of research to back up my case), but for those of you who have not yet read them, here’s your chance to learn more about my stance.
Myself, and many other real food dietitians/nutritionists, agree that correcting outdated prenatal nutrition advice is long overdue.
In this post, you’ll learn:
- 6 Prenatal Nutrition Misconceptions That Need to Stop
- The answer to this question: Is it Safe to Go Low Carb During Pregnancy?
- My thoughts on: preconception nutrition, prenatal supplements, and vegan diets during pregnancy
Let’s start this three-course “prenatal nutrition myth buffet,” shall we?
For starters, it’s time to reevaluate some commonly parroted prenatal nutrition-isms. Things like “Always take folic acid” and “You must eat plenty of whole grains.”
I debunk those (and more) in this post: 6 Prenatal Nutrition Misconceptions That Need to Stop (for Aglaee Jacob, The Paleo Dietitian and creator of Radicata Nutrition)
Let’s talk carbs.
Most pregnant women are told they need to consume extra carbohydrates during pregnancy. Some clinicians go as far as to warn pregnant women that a low carbohydrate diet is dangerous during pregnancy.
Yet, there is very little evidence to support this.
As far as I’m aware, I’m the first medical professional to break down, point-by-point, why the conventional carbohydrate recommendations for pregnancy are wrong (and why pervasive fears about low carb diets and ketosis in pregnancy are unwarranted).
(In fact, I devote an entire chapter to that topic in my book, because there is so much controversy and research to explain. For those of you reading, turn to Chapter 11.)
To get a taste of this research, check out my post: Is it Safe to Go Low Carb During Pregnancy? (for Franziska Spritzler, The Low Carb Dietitian)
Time for Dessert
And the cherry on the sundae is an interview I did with two awesome (and hilarious) real food dietitians, “Sassy” + “Pearl,” who host the Team Nutrition Genius podcast.
I get pretty passionate about this stuff, so much so that I compare myself to a political pundit at one point.
Alas, I don’t take myself too seriously, and neither to they, thankfully. Tune in and be prepared to laugh.
(Bonus points if you can count the number of times we say “fetus,” which happens to be Pearl’s favorite word.)
Listen to our Prenatal Nutrition Interview here.
Here’s small sampling of topics we discuss in our interview:
- How long before a woman gets pregnant should she think about prenatal nutrition?
- If a woman is taking hormonal birth control, does she need additional supplements or time to focus on preconception nutrition?
- Is it worth it to take a prenatal vitamin? (what to look for and what to avoid)
- How vitamin company reps are a lot like pharmaceutical reps.
- Why you don’t want to take folic acid and what you want instead.
- What supplements do I recommend during pregnancy? (beyond a prenatal vitamin)
- Little known facts about vitamin D, folate, and choline.
- Surprising fertility-boosting foods.
- Why I do not recommend a vegan diet during pregnancy.
- What all pregnant women should know about glycine.
- The mercury in fish debate (and why it matters way less than you’ve been told).
- Which foods should be avoided during pregnancy and why.
- Why buying meat, eggs, and dairy from pasture-raised animals matters (Read these for more on pastured eggs + grass-fed beef).
- How a woman’s immune system changes during pregnancy .
That’s Not All
The deeper I dig into conventional prenatal nutrition guidelines and compare it to current research, the more potential issues I find. This post covers a few more areas that show us why prenatal nutrition guidelines need to be updated.
Whew, I feel like this post is like an encyclopedia on prenatal nutrition. No wonder I had to write a book (actually, 2 books).
If you like what I have to say, get yourself a copy of my book: Real Food for Gestational Diabetes: An Effective Alternative to the Conventional Nutrition Approach.
Even if you don’t have gestational diabetes (or aren’t even pregnant yet), the book gives you sane, easy-to-implement nutrition and exercise advice to ensure you have the healthiest baby possible – when the time comes.
So, now that you’re up-to-date, I’d love to hear if you have other questions about prenatal nutrition.
Share ‘em in the comments section and I’ll address them in future blog posts and interviews.
Until next week,
PS – If you like the myth debunking in this post, be sure to check out my latest book, Real Food for Pregnancy, which lays out the evidence—930 citations and counting—on the benefits of real food, why certain foods are essential (and others are detrimental), and countless lifestyle tweaks you can make to have a smooth, healthy pregnancy.
There has never been a more comprehensive and well-referenced resource on prenatal nutrition (believe me; I’ve looked long and hard).
Want to take a sneak peek? You can read the first chapter for free over at www.realfoodforpregnancy.com,