Aspartame is an artificial sweetener. Here is information about the effects of consuming aspartame during pregnancy.
Aspartame is used in a variety of products as a calorie-free sweetener. It is made from aspartic acid. Peculiarly, it is believed to be nearly 100 times sweeter than sugar, and its sweet taste tends to last longer in the mouth. More commonly, it is found in diet sodas and other diet drinks. Aspartame has been under the scrutiny for a long time as there have been several claims and debates regarding its side effects.
An Overview on Aspartame
When consumed, aspartame breaks down to methanol, phenylalanine, and aspartic acid. These components or chemicals are believed to increase the risk for possible birth defects, specially in the brain development. Secondly, there have also been claims that aspartame increases the risk of developing cancer. There are also speculations that excess intake leads to poisoning and other side effects like upset stomach, headache, and increase in the blood pressure. However, these statements have been dismissed by The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and it has stated that aspartame is safe for consumption.
Is Aspartame Safe During Pregnancy?
Aspartame, as a product, is safe to consume (in moderation) during pregnancy. However, there are other things that one needs to consider before having it. Firstly, aspartame is found mostly in diet sodas and other diet drinks which may not be safe during pregnancy. As the baby gets the necessary nutrients from the mother’s diet, it is not advisable for the mother to consume unhealthy foods. A pregnant woman is in a greater need of calories, and hence, it is not advisable for her to consume foods containing low or no calories.
Secondly, most of the products containing artificial sweeteners may contain caffeine which is harmful for the health of the baby as well as the mother. On the other hand, women suffering from phenylketonuria (PKU) are at a higher risk of developing complications during pregnancy and childbirth if they consume aspartame. In severe cases, it may even lead to brain damage of the child. This is because these patients cannot process the amino acids and phenylalanine. Women suffering from this disorder should keep away from aspartame and foods containing it. As a precaution, women must read the labels of products, specially diet drinks, before consuming them.
Aspartame is not safe when taken in large amounts. Diabetic pregnant women can have this artificial sweetener in limited quantity when required. However, it is always advisable to consult your doctor to know more about it, and see whether it is safe for you or not. Take care!
Disclaimer: This article is meant for informative purposes only. It is not to be used as a replacement for doctor’s consultation.