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Well, artificial sweeteners are compounds that are low calorie substitutes of sugar, offering a sweetness similar to that of sugar. They contain 30 to 8000 times higher sweetening effects than sugar. These are thus added to food in smaller quantity compared to table sugar, so as to render the same sweetness while reducing the calorific value of the food.
Table sugar contains around 4 calories per grams while artificial sweeteners can have as low as zero calories per gram. Some commonly used artificial sweeteners while pregnant are Sugar Free, Equal, Splenda, etc.
Benefits of Artificial Sweeteners During Pregnancy:
Artificial sweeteners are beneficial for weight loss and controlling diabetes.
- As these are low on calories consuming artificial sweeteners instead of sugar and other natural sweeteners help to keep unwanted fat and obesity at bay.
- They also help to maintain the sugar levels in your body, thereby aiding to keep diabetes, blood pressure, cardiac and brain diseases in check.
- These sweeteners are tooth friendly. Prevent bacterial germination in your teeth thereby promotes dental health.
Consumption of nutritive sweeteners in moderate amounts, which does not contribute to extra weight gain in pregnant women, is acceptable. But if you are suffering from any of the these – diabetes, obesity, blood pressure, etc., intake of sweeteners such as sugar, honey, maltose, fructose, sucrose, etc., can be harmful for you and your baby. Hence, it is advisable to use low-cal artificial non nutritive sweeteners as sweetening agents.
Safe-to-Consume – Artificial sweeteners:
Want to know what sweetener is safe during pregnancy? Here we have mentioned some artificial sweeteners considered safe for consumption during pregnancy:
The limited consumption of aspartame is considered safe by FDA standards for expectant and lactating mothers. However, it should not be consumed by pregnant women suffering from a rare liver disease, PKU (a metabolic disease) and the issue of high Phenylalanine levels. Aspartame is present in soft drinks, chewing gum, breakfast cereals, dairy products, etc. Two most commonly available brands of artificial sweeteners containing Aspartame are Equal and Nutra sweet.
[ Read: Soft Drinks During Pregnancy ]
2. Acesulfame Potassium:
Baked good, sugar free gelatins, frozen desserts, beverages and puddings generally contain Acesulfame Potassium. Sunett contains acesulfame potassium and is FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved and considered risk free for consumption by would be moms.
Deemed safe for consumption by pregnant women and lactating mothers by FDA, this zero calorie sweetener is obtained from sugar. Its calorie free factor does not affect blood sugar level in your body and is present in non alcoholic beverages, baked goods, confectioneries, oil fats, etc. Splendacontains sucralose.
To-be-Avoided – Artificial Sweeteners:
Some sweeteners are toxic in nature and when consumed can prove harmful for both you and your baby. Some sweeteners believed to be harmful for consumption both during and after pregnancy are:
This sweetener is responsible for causing cancer and is also banned for consumption in countries like USA. Its toxicity makes it inappropriate for intake by all especially for expectant and breastfeeding moms.
Obtained from a South American shrub, this sweetener is not approved by the FDA and hence is considered unsafe for consumption as food additive by would-be and lactating mothers. This can however be sold as a dietary supplement but not as a sweetener.
Sweetener brands like Sweet n low containing the artificial sweetener Saccharin is considered unsafe for use by the FDA. Saccharin is believed to cross the placenta and get deposited and stored in the foetal tissues thereby having ill effects on the health of both you and your child. It has also been believed to cause bladder cancer.
If you are expecting or lactating, you should always consult your medical provider before consuming artificial sweeteners during and post pregnancy. If you are conscious about your figure, it’s preferred to switch to nutritive and natural sweeteners like honey.
As you can infer from the information given above, it seems best to avoid artificial sweeteners during pregnancy in any form, as they pose more risks than benefits for you or your unborn baby. Always practice safe and nutritious diet habits at this wonderful time, and we wish you the best for a healthy delivery!
Do share your experiences with us in the comment section below:
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