Institute of Good Manufacturing Practices India®

(An Autonomous Body Recognized by Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India)

Pregnant women should avoid ultra-processed fast foods, experts recommend

Research indicates that phthalates, chemicals found in plastics, can leach from packaging and plastic gloves into food. Ingested during pregnancy, these chemicals traverse the placenta, entering the fetal bloodstream, causing oxidative stress and inflammation. Prior studies link phthalate exposure during pregnancy to low birth weight, preterm birth, and neurodevelopmental disorders like autism and ADHD.

Interestingly, this report doesn't focus on the food itself but on substances touching it before consumption.

In a groundbreaking study involving pregnant women, diets high in ultra-processed foods were found to correlate with increased phthalate exposure.

Analyzing data from the CANDLE research cohort in Memphis, comprising 1,031 pregnant individuals enrolled between 2006 and 2011, and researchers discovered that each 10% rise in ultra-processed food consumption led to a 13% increase in di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate levels in urine samples collected during the second trimester. Ultra-processed foods undergo extensive processing and contain additives, including packaged cake mixes, french fries, hamburger buns, and soft drinks.