Diet soda during pregnancy tied to overweight kids
Consumption of artificially sweetened beverages such as diet soda and some tea and coffee during pregnancy may be linked to a higher body mass index (BMI) in infants, a new study shows.
The study, published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics and conducted by researchers at the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba, included more than 3,000 mother-infant pairs. Considerations were made for the mothers’ weight, diet and calorie intake. After accounting for these factors, researchers concluded that infants whose mothers consumed artificial sweeteners daily were twice as likely to be overweight as infants whose mothers did not.
“You should try to avoid soda – diet or regular – even when you’re not pregnant,” says Dr. Melissa Dennis, an obstetrician at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. “When you are pregnant, it’s much better for you and for the baby if you choose beverages like milk, juice and water.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has categorized five artificial sweeteners as safe for human consumption, according to a news release. However, FDA approval does not necessarily mean they are safe for consumption during pregnancy.
“Women are encouraged to make healthy dietary choices while pregnant,” says Dr. Dennis. “While some things, like diet soda, may not do any serious harm when consumed in moderation, it’s always best to avoid these potential risks when you can.”
While Dr. Dennis believes more research needs to be done to better understand the effects of artificial sweeteners, she advises that pregnant women avoid the following food and drink during pregnancy:
- Seafood with high levels of mercury, such as swordfish and king mackerel
- Raw meat
- Raw eggs
- Unpasteurized dairy products
- Beverages with high amounts of caffeine
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