Pregnancy is one period during which one has to be extremely careful about the diet and also the time when one gets so much of advice about what to eat and what not to that it is bound to make anyone all the more confused. One of the main concerns is on the subject of artificial sweeteners and whether they are actually recommended during the pregnancy period. Majority of women are aware that they require cutting down their sugar intake and thus binge on artificial sweeteners instead. However how safe these artificial sweeteners are needs to be discussed in detail.
Pregnant woman eats sweets

Artificial Sweeteners And Pregnancy

gestational diabetes, there is every chance your doctor might advice you to go in for artificial sweeteners which will avert a hike in the blood sugar level. However you need to be knowledgeable about the various artificial sweeteners and how safe they are for you during this crucial period.

What Are Nutritive Sweeteners And Non-Nutritive Sweeteners?

Nutritive sweeteners contain what we know as ’empty calories’, and in moderate quantities, these sweeteners are considered safe during pregnancy, unless they do not contribute to unnecessary weight gain. Table sugar is the most common example of nutritive sweeteners. Sugar alcohols are also classified as nutritive sweeteners that are often found in foods labeled as “sugar free.”
Non nutritive sweeteners are used as sweetening additives in foods and drinks in very less quantities. They provide fewer calories as compared to sugar, because they are not fully digestible by our bodies. However, their safety during pregnancy has not yet been fully ascertained owing to limited research.

Non Nutritive Sweeteners That Are Considered Safe During Pregnancy

Given below are some wonderful guidelines about these sweeteners which will help you to make the right choice and ensure you breeze through your pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby. The most common among them are Sucralose, Saccharin and Aspartame.

  • Sucralose: This is one of the latest artificial sweeteners crated from sugar although it does not increase any calories since most of this is indigestible. Approved by the Food and Drug Administration, this has permission to be included in all kinds of food ranging from biscuits to fruit juices and gum. It has gained recognition as a sugar substitute and has also been proven to be absolutely safe to be consumed even during pregnancy provided it is consumed in moderate quantities.
    However, Japanese research recently found this ingredient along with other kinds of additives triggered damage of DNA in mice’s gastrointestinal organs. So you do need to be get absolute assurance from your doctor about the safety of consuming this artificial sweetener during your conception period
  • Aspartame: This sweetener which is actually 180 times more sweet than sugar is the standardized sweetener in a lot of food products including diet sodas. However, this ingredient needs to be avoided if you are pregnant and your level of phenylalanine in blood is high. Also approved by the FDA, there is no proof that extremely high level of Aspartame can trigger any kind of harm for your baby if consumption is maintained within limits. But you need to steer clear of this sweetener if you happen to be a victim of phenylketonuria
  • Adding sugar to cereal

  • Saccharin: Although the popularity of this sugar substitute has decreased these days, this ingredient is present in a lot of food products even today. This is not approved by the FDA as it has been found it can increase the chances of cancer in the bladder. Anyhow, this is not proven to be dangerous in any way during pregnancy
  • Sorbitol: This is yet another sweetener (nutritive) which is found to be consumed even during pregnancy period. Although this has no bad effects on your baby growing inside you, too much of it can trigger off unpleasant gastro effects like diarrhea or an upset stomach. This makes it vital you have only moderate quantities which do not harm you or your baby in any way.
  • Acesulfame –Potassium: Added to baked goods, frozen desserts, sugar free gelatins, puddings and beverages, this artificial sweetener has been considered safe for consumption during pregnancy

Sweeteners That Are Not Considered Safe During Pregnancy

Some artificial sweeteners have been seen to be safe for humans as such, but linked to certain complications during pregnancy. Saccharin is one such example, which has been linked to an increased risk of developing bladder cancer. Cyclamate is another such artificial sweetener which has been in question regarding its safety for consumption during pregnancy.

One of the major issues around pregnant woman consuming artificial sweeteners is that they are actually forgoing quite a big quantity of the much required nutrition which is an absolute must during this period for a healthy baby. Drinking huge amounts of diet soda for instance may deprive you of the necessary amount of milk, water or juices which are required during pregnancy.