Scholarly Sunday: Reseach Wanted on Pickles and Ice Cream

Image result for pickles and ice creamPickles, ice cream, starch, ice are all craved in pregnancy by many woman, and exactly why women have these cravings is a topic of some serious study, as in the past it was just giggled off as 'one of those things' and now we know these food cravings can cause some serious issues. Fluctuating hormones, blood level nutritional deficiencies, actual components of the foods, and just cultural factors have been offered as reasons for these food desires, which do seem more prevalent during pregnancy; and nutritional health is that much more important as well. None food cravings is probably the most strange to pregnant moms, and in fact may be the most harmful if those cravings are indulged. The most common cravings are for starch, ice and earth, and they have scientific names.
Pica is the craving for and consumption of nonfood items, including the ingestion of earth (geophagy), raw starch (amylophagy), and ice (pagophagy). All of these behaviors have been associated with being anemic and having low blood zinc during pregnancy according to D Miao and a Metanalysis published in Am J of Hum Biol in 2015. In another study published in  2015 article in J Acad Nut Diet a group of  lead by LV Farland decided to look at whether food cravings could predict gestational diabetes. Their study showed about 20% of their group craved sweets, only about 10% craved salty foods, and less than 5% craved starchy foods. And to some extent these cravings altered the way they ate their diet. In their study craving salty foods may predict reduced risk of developing diabetes in pregnancy, whereas craving sweets did not appear to alter one's risk at all. To the extent a pregnancy suffers from a nutritional issue the baby's health could be affected. But there has not so far been a direct link to lack of health and the foods the women choose. What has been determined is that these cravings are real, they do mean something, and you definitely need to gab with your gyno about them so that you can be sure you are not suffering from deficiencies.

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