https://www.ucf.edu/pegasus/process... 15,diagnosed with the developmental disorder. Could eating processed foods while pregnant increase the likelihood of childhood autism? Autism diagnoses have risen 15 percent in the past six years, with 1 in 59 U.S. children now being diagnosed with the developmental disorder. As a result, scientists are working diligently to understand the overlapping genetic and environmental factors that cause it. And a group of researchers at UCF may have found a link: processed foods. Which Foods Contain PPA? Store-bought breads, baked goods, processed cheese, dried fruits and juices often contain some form of PPA as a preservative. Check labels for these ingredients: Sodium propionate/propanoate Calcium propionate/propanoate Methyl propionate/propanoate - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - The article lists some chemicals. What about other chemicals that haven't been tested yet? Bottom line - it's common sense that if food is not healthy for adults, that it's also not healthy for a fetus. Considering the rapid growth of a fetus during the nine months of pregnancy, the harmful effects likely if not definitely would be exacerbated.