Food cravings are a part of the journey when it comes to pregnancy. Almost every pregnant mother craves a particular food during those nine months, and this can range from something spicy to a dessert. The cravings can change from day to day. A person with a sweet tooth will have a craving for dessert, which naturally leads to cakes and pastries. During pregnancy, cakes and pastries are hotly debated, and opinions differ significantly.
So, the question is, can you indulge in your craving and still be healthy?
Can you eat cake when you are pregnant?
Eating cakes during pregnancy is safe. But, eating it often is not recommended. As with everything else during pregnancy, eating a particular type of food in moderation is not harmful to either you or your baby. This is the same for cake as well. Eating a piece of cake once in a while during pregnancy is fine. Cakes are pretty calorie-dense, offer very little nutrition, and contain refined sugar and flour, and saturated fats. They can also increase your risk of gestational diabetes. When you tend to binge on a cake, it is considered harmful. This goes for other foods as well.
According to doctors, a food binge is not healthy despite having cravings. The term of your pregnancy calls for eating healthy foods as part of a well-balanced diet that will ensure optimum nutrition for you and your baby. Well-balanced and nutritious foods allow your body to cope with things like morning sickness that accompany pregnancy, but most importantly, nourish the little one growing inside of you. Lots of water is also of the essence, as your body needs water to replace the fluids lost during morning sickness.
Why should I avoid eating cakes during my pregnancy?
There are some known health risks associated with eating cake during a pregnancy. Other people who have gone through pregnancy may tell you to avoid eating cakes. They might have faced a few issues with weight or rising blood sugar levels. However, doctors do not suggest that you stop eating cakes. Rather, exercise cautiously, as you would while eating anything full of sugar, and can add a few extra kilos.
Risk of infection: During your pregnancy, your body goes through many changes, one of which is your immune system. There is a significant weakening of the immune system, putting you at higher risk of infection. This holds for infection from other foods as well. Even a homemade cake risks carrying bacteria like salmonella, E.coli, toxoplasma, or others. Cake batter can act as a breeding ground for bacteria if left out for too long, where this risk arises. Any of these bacteria entering your body could result in severe complications.
Unhealthy weight gain: Another change that your body is going through is weight gain. Your doctor will monitor your weight gain throughout the pregnancy as your body adapts to the added weight growing inside of you. During pregnancy, the weight gain is healthy, but only from healthy and nutritious foods.
Cakes and desserts generally are considered empty calories that offer little or no nutritional value while packing on the pounds, which results in unhealthy weight gain during the pregnancy. Unwanted weight gain can lead to other complications like increased backache and knee pain in the later stages of the pregnancy, and no one wants to make it worse than it already is.
Cakes are best avoided, but having a piece from time to time to satisfy a craving is fine. If you are gaining more weight than you should during each trimester, doctors suggest avoiding desserts or junk food. This is only to ensure that you do not add too many calories because you can only put on a few kilos every trimester.
Alcohol ingestion: Alcohol is one of the substances that is not considered safe for your baby’s health. Some cakes contain alcoholic substances like rum to enhance the flavor of the cake. Although it is widely believed that cooking neutralizes alcohol in food, there may be traces of it in the cake. Alcohol can cross the placenta and lead to complications in the baby. It can also lead to congenital disabilities and premature delivery, so think twice about reaching for a piece of cake that has alcohol in it.
Unhealthy supplements: Some cake mixes and store-bought cakes may contain harmful supplements in the form of added flavors and taste enhancers. They may also contain preservatives. These are generally added to off-the-shelf products to make them last longer. They can also contain saccharin, which can cross the placenta and affect the fetus.
With all of these factors to consider, it is better to eat a piece of fresh cake if the craving arises. If you are buying from a bakery or store, take your time to ask the bakery about possible allergens, additives, alcohol, and nutritional information on the cake. Established bakeries like Cake Buzz will have all of these parameters on hand to help you make an informed decision.
What are some cakes that I can eat during my pregnancy?
Try to eat healthier cakes that do not contain refined flour and sugar. There are many organic options. Cakes made with palm sugar and jaggery or honey are also available. Take care to control portions. Some cakes that you can request are mentioned below.
Dark Chocolate Cake: Cakes made with 70% or more dark chocolate and unsweetened cocoa are healthier options in cakes. This is because dark chocolate or unsweetened cocoa is rich in antioxidants and can benefit your health during pregnancy. Dark chocolate is also known to improve blood flow and lower blood pressure levels, which are again beneficial during your pregnancy.
Yogurt Cake: Yogurt is a wonder food known for its high nutrient content. Other than high calcium, protein, Vitamin B12, phosphorous, and magnesium, yogurt also contains essential probiotics that aid indigestion. Most doctors and nutritionists recommend yogurt during pregnancy, other than when the mother is at high risk or has gestational diabetes. Make a cake out of yogurt and indulge yourself, but make sure you consume it immediately.
Angel Food Cake: This is a cake in which stiffly beaten egg whites replace the butter to achieve a light, fluffy texture. Because of the ingredients, angel food cake has no fat content, making it ideal for a pregnant woman. As with every other cake on this list, a piece once in a while is not going to harm you.
What are the things to keep in mind when craving a cake during pregnancy?
During your first trimester, the occasional slice of cake can be consumed. The first trimester is usually when cravings are at their peak. During the second trimester, the risk of gestational diabetes increases, and your doctor may take some tests to assess your blood sugar levels and ask you to cut down on sugar.
Take care of this and limit your sugar consumption at this stage. Cakes have high sugar levels and can have the opposite effect of what your doctor recommends. During the third trimester, try to limit your sugar intake where possible.
Another common misconception is that consumption of eggs while you are pregnant is bad for your baby. Eggs contain essential nutrients and have a high protein content, so do not avoid them altogether. Cakes that have eggs in them are fine as long as the bakers use fresh eggs during the preparation of the cake. Make sure to ask if there are other preservatives used in the cake.
To sum up, you can have a piece of cake whenever you have a craving during your pregnancy. Limiting your sugar intake is good for you and your baby, so moderation is essential when it comes to cakes and sweets. Try to have a piece of cake that is homemade or from a trusted bakery. If you are buying from a bakery, ask them for the nutritional information of the cake and if it contains preservatives, sweeteners, or other additives. Have that slice of cake at your baby shower and other occasions!