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BHT In Your Pregnancy Diet

Posted on January 23rd, 2013 by | 1 views

by Nisha Obaidullah

This morning on another one of the big Pregnancy websites I saw a very interesting pregnancy nutrition question from one of their readers.

“Every non-organic cereal in the supermarket contains BHT. Is this safe to eat if it is the last ingredient? Also, can you please tell me which whole wheat, heart-healthy cereals are the safest to consume?”

BHT is a preservative which is used to preserve fats and stop them oxidising and going rancid and you will find it in most prepackaged processed food as it preserves food odour, colour and flavour.

As with any preservative it is toxinous to the body and during pregnancy it should be avoided completely, (along with MSG (monosodium glutamate), caffeine, quinine, aspartame, sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate and BHA). All of these preservatives and additives can cause birth defects and long-term health complications and although the FSA issue a “safe level” of BHA they do not know for certain its effects in pregnancy.

Anyway – here is the answer given by the site’s nutritionalist.

In their natural state, grains (such as wheat) have three parts:

  1. Bran, the hard outer “skin”, which is rich in fiber, protein, and B vitamins;
  2. Germ, the part of the seed that would sprout a new plant, which is also rich in vitamins; and
  3. Endosperm, the largest, starchy part of the kernel, which provides carbohydrates, some protein, iron, and B vitamins.

Whole grain cereals include all three parts of the kernel, making them high in nutrients, fiber, and protein. Refined cereals (anything that is not “whole wheat” or “whole grain&rdquoWink remove the bran and the germ, leaving just the starchy endosperm. Cereals made with added bran may contain more fiber than whole grain cereals, but they can be hard to digest.

The best cereal choices include those that have little or no sugar, zero trans fats, and some fiber. I recommend Post 100% Bran, Kelloggs All-Bran, and General Mills Chex Multi-Bran. Other good choices include General Mills Cheerios, Post Grape Nuts, and Kelloggs Just Right with Fruit & Nuts.”


Now what’s wrong with scenario?

First of all, the part about wholegrain cereals is completely wrong. Yes they do contain all three parts of the kernel – but they are not an unrefined cereal! Not many people know this but wholegrain cereals are synthetically manufactured.

The grain is ripped apart and as the nutritionalist says above, the bran and the wheatgerm are removed, BUT, after high heat processing, the parts are all married back together – to produce what we know as “wholegrain”. So technically, the cereal manufacturers aren’t lying to you – you are still getting all three parts of the grain, it’s just that its not in its original natural state.

So once the grain is put back together the whole thing gets mashed into a pulp which further destroys the structure of the grains proteins and added to the mix are BHT, colour, flavour, sugar, salt and whatever else they feel like adding to make it look and taste acceptable. Finally the pulp is hardened under heat and an industrial sized cutter, cuts out the flakes or whatever other shape is the order of the day for that particular cereal brand.

Lastly, the reccomendations made for Cereals are pretty bad. All of these cereals contain BHT and are high in either sugar, salt or both. Yes even the Kellogs All Bran and Grape Nuts which are placed as the “healthy option” in the cereal aisle.

Dispatches on Channel 4 did a very revealing documentary on this a couple of months ago, “Whats in Your Breakfast Cereal”. If you didn’t get a chance to see it, it’s definitely worth a look!

The only breakfast cereal you should be including in your pregnancy diet is either steel-cut porridge oats, or porridge made from a true wholegrain that you make yourself, such as buckwheat, millet or quinoa.

Remember any food that is denatured by manufacturing and processing will pollute your cells and slow down both your pregnancy health and your baby’s development.


Nisha is a world leading authority on pregnancy fitness and the author of The 9 Month Club - Pregnancy Fitness Coaching for Safe and Effective Pregnancy Health. To get your free copy of her Pregnancy e-book "The 5 Health Secrets Every Expectant Mother MUST Know" please visit

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