Pregnancy Articles

Artificial Sweeteners and Your Pregnancy

When You Crave the Sweetness

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There are a lot of options and much confusion when it comes to artificial sweeteners. Pregnant women can safely use low-calorie sweeteners in moderation, unless otherwise advised by their physicians. Many health organizations and healthcare providers suggest limiting artificially-sweetened foods in your diet to only 2 or 3 servings a day. Examples of one serving include:
  • 12 ounce can of pop
  • 1/2 cup of pudding, ice cream, or gelatin product
  • one bowl of sweetened cereal
  • one portion of a bakery item
Discuss the use of low-calorie sweeteners with your health care provider, especially if you are diabetic or need to control calorie intake. The following low-calorie sweeteners have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and are considered safe for pregnant women and children:

  • Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal, Sugar Twin) is a combination of two amino acids, phenylalanine and aspartic acid. It is two hundred times sweeter than table sugar. It can be used in moderation by diabetics. One packet of Equal is the same in sweetness as two teaspoons of sugar. The average amount used supplies no calories. Individuals who have phenylketonuria (PKU) and cannot metabolize phenylalanine, or are sensitive to aspartame, should not use it.

  • Saccharin (Sweet'N Low, Sweet Twin, Necta Sweet) is not metabolized and passes through the digestive system unchanged. It is a noncaloric sweetener produced from an organic compound. It is 375 times as sweet as table sugar and can be used in moderate amounts by diabetics.

  • Acesulfame K (Sunett and Sweet One, Sweet and Safe) is not metabolized and is excreted unchanged by the kidneys. It can be used in moderation by diabetics. One packet of Sweet One is equal to the sweetness of two teaspoons of sugar. It can be used in cooking and baking.

  • Sucralose (Splenda) is not well absorbed and is excreted unchanged. Splenda is the only artificial sugar substitute that is made from sugar. It is 600 times sweeter than sugar. Splenda or sucrolose is often used in baked goods, soft drinks, chewing gum, frozen dairy desserts, fruit juices and gelatins. One of the unique attributes of sucralose is that it can be used virtually like sugar without losing any of its sugar-like sweetness, even in applications that require exposure to high temperatures. Therefore, it can be used in baked products as well. More than 100 studies over 20 years have found no link between splenda and any health problems. It can be used by pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers.
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About The Author

Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. She teaches prenatal classes and counsels individuals, helping women eat right and stay fit before, during and after their pregnancies.
Becky Hand

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