Aspartame is a sugar substitute found in a number of different foods. It may sweeten low calorie versions of desserts or yogurts and is found in plenty of diet sodas. There has been concern about aspartame and pregnancy voiced by many people, and fueled by Internet allegations. At present, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has investigated these allegations, found them to be false, and considers aspartame and pregnancy to be compatible. Nevertheless, some doctors recommend limiting use for a few important reasons.
The first reason why aspartame and pregnancy may not go together well is because pregnant women should probably not be consuming “diet” foods. If you’re really worried about calorie intake when pregnant, you may not be getting enough calories. You can eat plenty of nutritious foods without overeating, and still not have to resort to low calorie foods to stay healthy.
Another potential consideration regarding aspartame and pregnancy is the types of foods aspartame is usually in. If your consumption of this aspartame is primarily through diet sodas, you may want to give the matter some thought. Many diet sodas contain high levels of caffeine and doctors recommend that people should limit consumption of caffeine to no more than 200 milligrams a day. Some recent studies suggest consuming 200 milligrams of caffeine or more may significantly increase risk of miscarriage. If you can avoid caffeine, you probably should.
One consideration about aspartame and pregnancy is that using some sugar substitutes may actually be better for some women. Women suffering from diabetes typically cannot consume sugar and are safer using aspartame. Other sugar substitutes are not as safe. Saccharin definitely has been linked to greater incidence of birth defects.
There is one group of women who should not mix aspartame and pregnancy. Women who have phenylketonuria (PKU) should never consume anything with aspartame. This is because this sugar substitute is high in phenylalanines. People with PKU cannot process this amino acid and high blood levels can result in tragic consequence during pregnancy, with great risk to the unborn child. PKU is diagnosed early so most women will know that they have the disease.
Despite there being some Internet buzz about links between aspartame and pregnancy, there still remains scant evidence that it is unsafe for pregnant women. On the other hand, you may simply want to avoid it and choose foods that are less chemically produced. However, the occasional ingestion of this sugar substitute should not be cause for alarm, and food-certifying agencies in the US continue to attest to its safety.