Are Artificial Sweeteners Safe to Use During Pregnancy?
November 27, 2017
Many people who want to reduce the amount of sugar in their diets turn to artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes as an alternative. Using an artificial sweetener can also mean a reduction in calorie intake. For women who are trying to prepare their bodies for pregnancy or manage diabetes, artificial sweeteners can seem like a good alternative to traditional, empty-calorie sugars. But are these sugar substitutes safe to consume during pregnancy?
Below is a list of common artificial sweeteners that many people use in place of sugar. All are deemed safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.1 But because there is evidence that they may cross the placenta, scientists warn caution against the use of some and urge that others be used only sparingly.2
|Examples of Brand Names Containing Sweetener||Multiplier of Sweetness Intensity Compared to Table Sugar (Sucrose)||Number of Tabletop Sweetener Packets Equivalent to Acceptable Daily Intake*|
|Acesulfame Potassium (Ace-K)||Sweet One® Sunett®||200x||23|
|Aspartame||Nutrasweet® Equal® Sugar Twin®||200x||75|
|Neotame||Newtame®||7,000x – 13,000x||23|
|Saccharin||Sweet Twin® Sweet’n Low® Necta Sweet®||200x – 700x||45|
|Siraitia grosvenorii Swingle (Luo Han Guo) fruit extracts (SGFE)||Nectresse® Monk Fruit in the Raw® PureLo®||100x – 250x||Not Specified|
|Certain high purity steviol glycosides purified from the leaves of Stevia rebaudiana (Bertoni) Bertoni||Truvia® PureVia® Enliten®||200x – 400x||9|
Figure Published By: U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Additional Information about High-Intensity Sweeteners Permitted for use in Food in the United States. May 2015. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/food/ingredientspackaginglabeling/ foodadditivesingredients/ucm397725.htm on November 9, 2017.
Some studies have shown that saccharine may pose a risk of increased bladder tumors in children who are exposed to it in utero.3 In fact, saccharine has been banned in some countries as an artificial sweetener.
In addition, expecting mothers with a genetic condition called phenylketonuria should avoid food and drinks with aspartame.1,4 People with this disorder are not able to properly digest aspartame, and a build-up of its byproducts in pregnant women may lead to birth defects. However, this condition is not a widespread concern, as it only occurs in every 1 in 10,000 to 15,000 newborns.4 More research is needed to fully understand how artificial sweeteners may affect a baby’s development in utero.
Best Practices for Prenatal Nutrition
Doctors and researchers agree that moderation and healthy eating habits play a vital role in promoting positive pregnancy outcomes. A balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, dairy, whole grains and lean protein is recommended for expecting moms. When diet alone cannot meet nutritional guidelines, a prenatal vitamin can be a helpful supplement. Prenate® Vitamin Family offers a line of prenatal vitamins that help fill nutritional gaps. Each Prenate® contains folic acid, which help prevent neural tube birth defects. Many contain absorbable forms of iron, calcium and DHA that help meet nutritional recommendations for both moms and babies. Talk to your doctor today to see if Prenate® is right for you.