pregnant

Public health officials should do more to educate and protect pregnant women from toxins found in common foods consumed during a pregnancy diet, cites a new report published in the recent issue of the journal Nutrition Journal.

According to the report, foods recommended while on a pregnancy diet, including canned foods, certain types of fish, over-the-counter medications, and even tap water, may pose threats to the developing babies. For many pregnant women, the foods to avoid are not well identified, particularly among Hispanic women, who seem to be at the highest risk of consuming chemicals in foods that could threaten the health of their babies.

The chemicals are endocrine disruptors that can upset a woman’s hormones and the development of unborn babies. Food Navigator reports: “Unlike alcohol and nicotine, which carry a certain stigma along with surgeon general warnings on the packaging, tuna, canned foods, caffeine and a handful of other foods and beverages with associated developmental effects are not typically thought of as unsafe,” said study researcher Sarah Santiago of the University of California San Diego.

“Our main findings are summaries as percentages of women reporting consumption of unhealthy foods and beverages during pregnancies,” wrote the research team. “For example, we found high numbers of Hispanic pregnant women consumed methylmercury through tuna, PCBs through salmon consumption, BPA through canened goods, DBAs containing tap water, caffeine containing beverages, and alcohol containing beverages during pregnancy.”

Hispanic women in particular also reported eating high amounts of sugar-sweetened foods, as well as high fat and fast foods more than once per week.

And the risks associated with some of the chemicals, such as BPA, have been shown to be of higher risk at low-level exposure, making the threats even more difficult to avoid.

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Image: molly darling