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Diet Drinks During Pregnancy

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During pregnancy, women are often told to avoid certain foods that may contain ingredients that will harm the baby. But what about drinks?

Diet sodas, though commonplace enough, contain chemicals that may cause harm to the growing fetus.

Diet Drinks During Pregnancy

 

Considerations

Though the Food and Drug Administration deems chemicals found in diet soft drinks are OK for pregnant women, some studies do suggest that these ingredients may be harmful. The most widely recognized substance sugars utilized in diet soft drinks are aspartame and saccharin.

 

Aspartame

Made up of two amino acids, the body digests aspartame much like a protein. High levels of Phenylalanine–one of the proteins–may lead to Phenylketonuria (PKU), a rare, fetal disorder that prevents a baby from being able to break down these proteins.

High levels of Phenylalanine have been shown to damage the fetus. However, one diet soft drink a day has not been shown to have negative effects.

 

Saccharin

Another chemical sweetener often found in diet soft drinks is saccharin. Saccharin has been appeared to cause unusual fetal improvement and malignancy in rodents. However, human studies have not shown these effects.

 

Expert Insight

According to Timothy J. Maher and Richard J. Wurtman in their article “Possible Neurological Effects of Aspartame, a Widely Used Food Additive,” aspartame elevates plasma levels and may also elevate brain phenylalanine levels.

Some people may suffer negative neurological or behavioral reactions because of aspartame consumption.

 

Alternatives

While pregnant, it’s important that everything a woman eat is nutrient dense to add to the overall health of her baby. Health care providers recommend that if diet sodas are consumed, they should be only consumed once a day.

Other drinks, such as water, fruit juice or milk, all are preferred over sodas because they provide more sound nutrition for the growing fetus.

 

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