A new study has a major warning for pregnant women.
Researchers are claiming that pregnant women who drink artificially sweetened drinks every day are putting their babies at risk.
The study, published by researchers at the University of Manitoba, found that infants born to women who regularly consumed one or more artificially sweetened beverages during pregnancy were twice as likely to be overweight at 1 year of age than infants of women who did not, according to a JAMA Network Journals statement.
It’s the first study to examine the effect of consuming artificial sweeteners during pregnancy, and how it might affect the baby after after birth.
Researchers also found that, bizarrely, this connection did not exist for sugar-sweetened drinks.
Scientists found that maternal weight and total calories consumed didn’t play a part in the results.
Although the study doesn’t prove the artificially sweetened drinks result in infant weight gain, it’s a concerning study that will require more research to explain why the connection exists.
“To our knowledge, our results provide the first human evidence that artificial sweetener consumption during pregnancy may increase the risk of early childhood overweight,” the authors said in the statement. “Given the current epidemic of childhood obesity and the widespread consumption of artificial sweeteners, further research is warranted to replicate our findings in other cohorts, evaluate specific NNS and longer-term outcomes, and study the underlying biological mechanisms.”
The statement adds: “Obesity may be rooted in early life with more than 20 percent of preschool children classified as overweight or obese. Added sugar is associated with obesity and as a result sugar replacements or nonnutritive sweeteners (NNSs) are popular. Literature suggests that chronic NNS consumption may paradoxically increase the risk of obesity and metabolic disease. Little is known about the effect of NNS exposure during pregnancy.”