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Women tend to use artificial sweeteners for their low calories to stay in shape. But is it safe to take artificial sweeteners during pregnancy?
An expecting woman can take selected sweeteners. You must consult your doctor about the kind of sweetener that is safe for use during pregnancy.
Diabetic mothers need to be cautious about their regular artificial sweetening substances. Natural alternatives are best when you control the amount of intake.
Instead of cutting out sugar a pregnant woman must lower her consumption.
Is it safe to use artificial sweeteners while pregnant?
Using artificial sweeteners during pregnancy requires informed action. Your health conditions also come into consideration.
A woman who has Diabetes Type 1 can suffer from diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and must stick to the bare minimum of such substances.
Even a healthy woman must not take in more than two servings of food with artificial sweeteners in pregnancy.
Few drinks, pastries, cookies or coffee also contain artificial sweet substances. Sweet ‘N Low has saccharin that is harmful to the pregnancy. It can cause congenital disabilities or cancers in the fetus.
Food items with aspartame have Phenylalanine, an amino acid. Pregnant women suffering from phenylketonuria have to abstain from the use of aspartame.
Ketone bodies form in the body of such patients that can lead to toxicity of baby. Neotame is an alternative safe for use during pregnancy.
Natural sweetening substances such as jaggery or brown sugar are better than synthetic sweeteners.
Artificial sweeteners during pregnancy
The advantage of using such additives in food is that you need a minimal amount. There are two kinds of sweetening substances – nutritive and sugar substitutes.
Other than aspartame all artificial sweeteners pass out from the body in the same form you took them.
Sugar substitutes are non-nutritive and do not add calories to your daily meal.
Brand names of FDA approved sweeteners for pregnant women:
|Brand Name||Artificial Sweetener|
|Sweet 'N Low||Saccharin|
Even though FDA approves of their use, Saccharin is still under study because it crosses the placenta.
Other artificial sweeteners in a moderate dose will not harm you. When the dose exceeds, or diet soda becomes a regular diet inclusion, there is a risk of side effects.
Molasses, buckwheat honey, and nectar are the best alternative for artificial sweeteners during pregnancy.
They don’t overdose the sweetness and are safe. Additional advantages of using natural sweet ingredients are the extra antioxidants present in them.
But taking empty calories during pregnancy is not a good idea. Nutritive sweeteners make you cross the recommended daily intake of calories without filling up. Loading yourself with sugar can harm the baby.
Women with diabetes or insulin resistance cannot regulate blood sugar. It reaches the baby and can collect in tissues.
When the baby receives extra sugar the insulin production shoots. This entire imbalance compromises baby’s development.
Empty calories make you gain weight that can cause pregnancy complications.
It is not necessary that sugars are the only source of extra blood glucose and weight. Fats and proteins in excessive amount also add calories. And vice versa also happens where the extra sugar converts into fatty acids.
Natural sweetening substances are honey, lactose, maltose, fructose, sucrose, corn starch, and nectar. Some sugarless food items have sorbitol, mannitol, and Xylitol.
These are sugar alcohols that also add calories to your pregnancy diet plan.
Safety of Sugar Substitutes during pregnancy
1) Stevia During Pregnancy
What is Stevia?
Stevia Rebaudiana plant gives raw materials for the artificial sweetener stevia. It is sweeter than sugar and safe for use during pregnancy.
Only the synthetic processed form of stevia is safe and approved by the US FDA.
Natural extracts of stevia may or may not be safe for pregnant women.
Is stevia safe during pregnancy?
Stevia is safe for use to avoid pregnancy weight gain. The highest reported calorie content in stevia is 1 calorie.
There is no fat based calorie in stevia. It is popular as zero calorie sweetener.
Most drinks, such as vitamin splash, carbonated beverages, and energy drinks have stevia. Canned tea and packed fruit juices also have stevia.
2) Splenda or Sucralose During Pregnancy
What is sucralose? Splenda or sucralose while pregnant is safe and does not add calories.
Frozen desserts, coffee, smoothies, and flavored yogurt have sucralose.
Food and Drug Administration approves Splenda for use by pregnant women.
Is it safe to use sucralose while pregnant?
Splenda is calorie free and does not put on excess weight. Sucralose does not have an aftertaste.
It is sweeter than sugar and safe to use at cooking temperature. You can have it as your tabletop sweetener.
Do not consume more than two servings a day.
4) Aspartame During Pregnancy
What is aspartame? It is an artificial sweetener containing phenylalanine. It is more than 100 times sweet than sugar.
Aspartame and pregnancy is not a well-studied subject.
Is it safe to take aspartame during pregnancy?
The main problem with aspartame is that it is not stable at cooking temperature.
Unlike other additives for sweet taste, aspartame does break down in the body.
Another issue is for Phenylketonuria patients who cannot break aspartame.
5) Saccharin During Pregnancy
Sweet N Low is not a safe choice during pregnancy. Whether or not it has side effects for your baby is not proven yet.
But saccharin moves into baby’s tissues and stays there. It can lead to disturbance in growth pattern.
Sweet N Low has FDA’s approvals, but it is better to steer clear of it. It is many times sweeter than sugar.
You need a minimal amount and need not worry if you were already taking it.
Cyclamate was long banned, and it is not safe during pregnancy.
6) Acesulfame potassium or Sunette During Pregnancy
You can use it is moderate amounts. It is already present in gums, candies, and frozen sweet stuff.
Baked products and gelatin or puddings also have Acesulfame K. Make sure you read the ingredients label to find whether the product has this artificial sweetener.
Natural sugar alcohols such as sorbitol can cause diarrhea during pregnancy.
Other side effects are hampering and interfering with the absorption of other vitamins and cofactors.
Mannitol is comparatively safe for expecting mothers. It has poor absorption and does not cause weight gain.
Xylitol in sugar gums prevents tooth decay but has 60% calories as sugar.
Lactose intolerance prevents the use of lactose which is milk sugar. Fruit juice concentrates are useful but not enough to be better than natural juice. Such natural extracts add extra calories to your diet.
Packaged fruit concentrates involve processing that digests all fibers present in it. Eating fruits also provide sugars known as fructose, but the fibers and vitamins going along are worth the calories.