Verified by Edna Skopljak MD
Edna Skopljak is a medical doctor and an editor at BJBMS medical journal. She graduated from the University of Sarajevo School of Science and Technology.
When pregnant, one of the hardest things to manage is the amount of sugar you eat.
Sweets, candies, and chocolates are often common cravings for pregnant women, yet they are often among the foods we need to be most careful about.
One of the most questioned sweet foods whose safety is debated during pregnancy is nougat, and it must be asked: can you eat nougat when pregnant?
Can you eat nougat when pregnant?
Yes, you can eat prepackaged, processed, shop-bought nougat while pregnant. However, we recommend avoiding nougat sold in artisan shops and patisseries as these are often made traditionally with raw egg whites.
Many pregnant women choose to avoid eating nougat completely while pregnant, as raw eggs should always be avoided, given the high chance that they contain harmful foodborne bacteria such as salmonella. Therefore, while you technically can eat nougat while pregnant, many women choose not to.
What does nougat contain?
Traditional white nougat is made of a mix of sugar, honey, roasted nuts such as hazelnuts, almonds, or pistachio nuts, whipped raw egg whites, and sometimes candied fruit. These ingredients are mixed, molded, and then left to air or sun dry before being cut into pieces.
Brown nougat, however, is not made with any egg whites at all but contains more of the other ingredients and caramelizes the sugar, making it much thicker and has a crunchier texture than white nougat.
German or “Viennese” nougat is also usually made with chocolate, sugar, and almonds, without any egg whites.
Mass-produced nougat, like the kind often found in many supermarkets globally, is usually made with sucrose and corn starch for longevity and sometimes has egg whites replaced with gelatin or hydrolyzed soya protein as alternative whipping agents.
If this is the kind of nougat you are looking to buy, we recommend checking the label to ensure all ingredients are safe to eat.
Alternatives to nougat for pregnant women
Although brown nougat, German nougat, and many kinds of nougat found in candy bars in supermarkets often don’t contain egg whites, if you wish to avoid nougat during pregnancy entirely, there are alternatives.
The most obvious alternative to fill sugar cravings is prepackaged chocolates and sweets (which can include jellies and sour candies).
However, we recommend limiting the amount of sugar you eat as much as possible during pregnancy to reduce your risk of gestational diabetes, which can cause complications for the unborn baby.
Can a pregnant lady eat candy?
Candy is often considered a treat and something that should be eaten in moderation. However, when you are pregnant, you may wonder if candy is off limits. The good news is that you can still enjoy candy while pregnant, but it is important to eat it in moderation.
It is high in sugar and calories, which can lead to weight gain during pregnancy. It is also important to remember that some types of candy may contain harmful ingredients, such as mercury.
Therefore, it is important to check the labels of any candy you eat while pregnant. Overall, eating candy in moderation is perfectly safe for most pregnant women. So go ahead and indulge in a little sweet treat every now and then!
Ultimately, the answer is that, yes, most nougat is safe to eat during pregnancy, and the only nougat you may want to avoid if being extremely cautious is white nougat, which often contains raw egg white.
However, brown nougat and German nougat do not use egg whites and are safe to eat during pregnancy, and some manufactured nougats replace egg whites with other pregnancy-safe whipping agents.
Whether you decide to eat nougat or not, we recommend limiting your sugar intake in pregnancy to avoid gestational diabetes.