Is it Safe to Go Carb-Free During Pregnancy?
Prenatal Nutrition Facts and Fallacies
Pump Up the Protein
As great as carbohydrates are, a girl cannot live on carbs alone. The remaining 50 percent of your daily calories should come from lean protein and healthy fats.
Good protein choices include chicken breasts, pork, and lean cuts of beef. (Cuts with the words “round” or “sirloin” contain less saturated fat.) While red meat is a good source of iron, it is relatively high in fat and calories. Compromise by eating red meat once or twice a week and asking your doctor about iron supplements.
Fish is another great source of protein. Unfortunately, some fish contain high levels of mercury that can damage the nervous system of an unborn child. Avoid eating shark, swordfish, king mackerel, yellow tail tuna, tile fish, and tuna steaks.
“There is also some data that [shows] canned tuna has higher levels of mercury than the average fish,” adds Dr. Ricciotti. “I tell my patients to eat only one can a week of chunk light, which has less mercury than albacore.”
The safest seafoods are tilapia, flounder, scallops, oysters, shrimp, and wild (rather than farm-raised) salmon. The Food and Drug Administration suggests limiting your weekly intake of cooked fish to 12 ounces and cutting out all raw fish, sushi, and sashimi.
Vegetarians can get their protein from dairy foods like yogurt, cheese, and eggs. Beans and peanut butter are also good choices.
Don’t Fear the Fat
Some foods that are high in protein are also great sources of healthy fats. Salmon, for instance, contains Omega-3 fatty acids, which lower blood cholesterol. Omega-3s are crucial to fetal brain and eye development. Other fish rich in Omega-3s are anchovies and lake trout.
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