Artificial Sweeteners and Beverages during Pregnancy May Make Infants Heavier

By Jenn Loro - 11 May '16 12:27PM

Consuming artificially sweetened beverages while pregnant is reportedly linked to higher chances of childhood obesity, one study finds.

According to a study published in JAMA Pediatrics, daily intake of sugar substitutes leads to a two-fold risk of giving birth to an overweight baby at age one as opposed to expectant mothers who consume less or no artificial sweeteners at all.

As per study's definition, a baby is considered overweight if he/she weighs more than 97% of other infants of the similar height and weight.

"To our knowledge, we provide the first human evidence that maternal consumption of artificial sweeteners during pregnancy may influence infant BMI," remarked lead author Meghan Azad of the University of Manitoba in Canada as quoted by News Max.

The report was based on data collected from self-reported survey. The study remains inconclusive as it falls short of determining cause and effect relationship. However, scientists are hopeful that more research shall be encouraged to expand the study where it left off.

As per Health Magazine, the survey was answered by more than 3, 000 mothers who reported their dietary habits as well as their babies' body mass index (BMI) at one year of age, which were then analyzed.

The study revealed that almost 30% of women admitted drinking artificially sweetened beverages while pregnant, however, the data did not say which type of sweeteners the mothers were consuming.

Research findings do not suggest that sugar substitutes cause childhood obesity but it does support previous studies that already established links between artificial sweeteners and a number of health-related issues such weight gain in both animals and humans. The study is the first attempt to investigate how the consumption of artificial sweeteners during pregnancy may lead to weight gain among babies, Time Magazine reported.

"Sweeteners aren't something we really need for any reason, so there's no harm in avoiding them. This study raises questions about the potential risk to infants now, and that's something to consider," Azad further said, Yahoo News reported.

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