Sugar cravings during pregnancy

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created July 30, 2013 at 8:33 PM

Oreos, bubble tea, ice cream, nanaimo bars, chocolate, caramels, peanut M&Ms, vanilla cupcakes with sprinkles, sugar cookies, honey nut cheerios, orange crush, gourmet jelly beans...

Heaven help me my list of sugary cravings won't stop growing. Let it be known that I am in my first trimester of pregnancy after being paleo for over a year. I was totally over this sugar addiction business, now it's all I can think of!

I've already been allowing myself to eat as much fruit as I want which usually equates to about 3-4 pieces a day. My aversions really only include leafy greens (I can do most vegetables still), chicken and coffee and I haven't experienced overwhelming nausea yet, just general queasiness that lasts throughout the morning.

Tips? Tricks? Advice?!

I want so badly to grow myself a little paleo baby and feel more guilty over the odd chocolate, ice cream or treat these days then I did when I was just looking out for myself. I'm trying not to beat myself up, but knowing what is and isn't healthy makes it tough.


on November 13, 2013
at 06:41 PM

how many weeks are you?

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5 Answers



on July 31, 2013
at 02:09 PM

Hi Sarah-Mae - are you trying to eat low-carb? for example, are you eating rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, things like that? Lots of egg yolks? (which are in ice cream, and which you can totally make yourself)

Maybe try creme brulee, making your own ice cream?

Maybe this site will help:


I think this part is what you're experiencing:

"Nutritional deficiencies are extremely common during pregnancy. For example, anemia develops during 33.8% of all pregnancies in the United States, 28% of women are still anemic after birth [source].

It???s likely that widespread nutritional deficiencies impair health to some degree in most pregnant women.

Those who have read our book know that we think malnutrition is a frequent cause of obesity and diabetes. Basically, we eat to obtain every needed nutrient; if the diet is unbalanced, then we may need an excess of fatty acids and glucose before we have met our nutritional needs. This energy excess can, in the right circumstances, lead to obesity and diabetes.

But obesity and diabetes are common features of modern pregnancy. Statistics:

???5.7% of pregnant American women develop gestational diabetes. [source] ???48% of pregnant American women experience a weight gain during pregnancy of more than about 35 pounds. [source] I take the high prevalence of these conditions as evidence that pregnant women are generally malnourished and the need for micronutrition stimulates appetite, causing women to gain weight and/or develop gestational diabetes."

So probably you have some kind of nutrient deficiency, IF you buy into his theory that micronutrition stimulates appetite, which has always been the case for me. That is, even on paleo diet, without supplementation, I found myself hungry and worn down, and adding iodine, chromium, vanadium, K2, and the B-vitamins helped a lot.

Also, a note on the anemia thing: I haven't read the study but it seems like "anemia" (a vastly wide and varying condition, which is like telling someone you have "inflammation" - it's a very broad and general condition which can be caused by lots of things

And a sidebar into anemia, if you are interested, from Chris Kresser:

http://chriskresser.com/rhr-testing-for-sibo-graves-disease-and-all-about-anemia "A lot of people can???t even agree on a definition of anemia. That???s where the complexity and the problems start, is if you look up what is anemia, you???ll get all different kinds of responses. One is a condition where the number of red blood cells in the blood is below normal. Well, then, of course, there are different opinions on what???s normal. And then another might be more specific, like hemoglobin level of below 12 in women or below 13 in men. But my preferred definition is compromised ability of red blood cells to deliver adequate oxygen to body tissues, because that???s, in the end, what we???re really concerned about, is the capacity of hemoglobin to deliver oxygen to the cells, and all the cells in the body need oxygen to function properly.

So the causes of anemia can be basically split into four categories. One would be insufficient production of red blood cells, hemoglobin. Number two would be excessive breakdown of red blood cells. Number three would be loss of blood. And number four would be fluid overload. So when we talk about insufficient production, that can be further broken down into stem cell problems like aplastic anemia or insufficient erythropoietin production; inadequate maturation of the red blood cells, which is usually in turn caused by nutrient deficiencies, specifically iron, folate, B12, or B6; myelodysplastic syndrome, or MDS, which was previously known as preleukemia; and then anemia of chronic disease, also known as anemia of chronic inflammation. Now, when we talk about excessive breakdown, the second major group of causes, we???re talking mostly about the hemolytic anemias. This generally will feature jaundice clinically. You???ll see some yellowing and orange-bronzing of the skin and increased levels of an enzyme called lactate dehydrogenase on a lab test. And these are often due to genetic mutations like sickle cell anemia and also enzymopathies like glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency, or G6PD. The third category is blood loss, and short of trauma, you know, if you get in an accident and lose a lot of blood, we???re mostly talking in women about menstrual disorders like heavy periods or endometriosis or something like that, and in both men and women, gastrointestinal bleeding, so inflammatory bowel disease or ulcers, something like that where there???s significant ongoing blood loss."

So anyway, you see, that one of the causes of anemia can include low hemoglobin and Chris Kresser stated that hemoglobin of lower, 10-14, is actually associated with healthier pregnancy outcomes here - http://healthybabycode.com/5-myths-about-pregnancy-nutrition-2-all-women-should-take-iron-during-pregnancy)

So, just didn't want to leave you in the dark about hemoglobin but even so, the fact that most women gain a lot of weight during pregnancy being a sign of micronutrient deficiencies/malnourishment is something I think makes sense.

Check out all of the perfect health diet's posts on pregnancy and good luck!


PS Chris Kresser recommends Pure Encapsulations with Vitamin K as a good prenatal, and perhaps supplementing with that could help some of your symptoms?

I would say don't stress about it too much.

Some other questions that may be useful to you:


I like the response to this question: http://paleohacks.com/questions/167592/having-difficulty-staying-paleo-while-pregnant

"You [are] not ruining anything, your body was properly primed with your paleo diet, and you can return to it after the baby is born. What your body is asking of you is a bit out of your control, and it won't be the last time your child will make you do something he/she wants instead of what you want:)"



on July 30, 2013
at 08:56 PM

If you must eat ice cream go with the Haagen-dazs five, since it has only 5 ingredients and none are that bad in moderation. Also, try makings some paleo desserts to try and avoid the processed chemical filled store bought crap.



on July 30, 2013
at 08:53 PM

Can you make yourself some paleo treats to help the cravings subside? Maybe your body is telling you it needs more calories while the baby is growing.



on November 14, 2013
at 02:06 AM

Blood sugar can really fluctuate in pregnancy. Eat for nutrient density first and foremost (that developing brain needs FAT!!!), and then "safe" starches and a moderate amount of fruit. Your baby doesn't need junk food sugar, you can be sure of that--and if the cravings are the result of any micronutrient deficiency, it's surely NOT going to be provided by eating candy, cookies, etc.

Especially try to avoid gluten containing grains. Over at the free Gluten Summit this week (www.glutensummit.com) they keep repeating over and over again that children of mothers who have gluten antibodies and who ingest gluten during pregnancy have something like a 47% higher rate of developing schizophrenia in adulthood compared to those born to non-gluten sensitive mothers. You don't always know you're gluten sensitive. That would make me think ALL pregnant women should really stay away from gluten!



on July 31, 2013
at 01:47 AM

Supplementing Magnesium may help. Try. 400-600 mg Magnesium Citrate before bed. Will also help with sleep and constipation.

Also get your D3 level checked. D3 sufficiency is key to glucose control and a healthy pregnancy.


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