Aspartame in pregnancy

Aspartame is a low-calorie substance with a high sweetening power: approximately 200 times sweeter than sucrose.

Aspartame in pregnancy

In recent times there has been a lot of talk about aspartame in pregnancy. There are those who believe that it does not involve risks and those who absolutely advise against it.

The fact is that today in the world, more than 200 million people regularly use aspartame. 

With this article we will try to understand, scientific data in hand, and referring to authoritative sources, if there is or is not to worry about taking this sweetener during pregnancy and what are the possible risks that it could entail for you and for your son.

Asparame yes, aspartame no

Following careful assessments of its safety, in many countries of the world the food use of aspartame has been authorized for about thirty years.

In recent years, however, there has been much debate about the safety of artificial sweeteners in general and aspartame and saccharin in particular, yet most health professionals believe they are safe when taken in moderation.

Today aspartame can be found in the most diverse foods and beverages: from pastry and confectionery products to chewing gum; in low-calorie products, in specific ones for weight control, etc.

In general, its presence is indicated in products on the market with the indications “aspartame”, or “E-951”.

In 1984, the Scientific Committee for Human Nutrition set the permissible daily dose of aspartame at 40 mg/kg of body weight: according to the Committee, this dose can be ingested daily (even by infants and pregnant women) without are appreciable health risks.

However, those suffering from hereditary phenylketonuria (hereditary phenylketonuria is a metabolic disease that deprives those affected of the ability to metabolize the amino acid phenylalanine) should not take aspartame. 

However, the question of whether or not it is safe to take aspartame during pregnancy is still open.

There is not enough evidence to state whether or not it is harmful to the fetus, although, it must be said,

  • that, through the placenta, asparame accumulates in the fetal tissues. 
  • that a small Danish study involving 59,334 pregnant women concluded that the intake of artificially sweetened drinks was associated with an increased risk of preterm delivery. 

In 2013 the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) conducted a  comprehensive review of the evidence  and concluded that aspartame was safe for human consumption, including pregnant women and children. 

However, it is recommended that sugar substitute sweeteners be consumed in moderate quantities in compliance with the “acceptable daily intake standards” established by the Regulatory Agencies. 

Out of prudence, it is therefore advisable for pregnant women to check the labels of the various products they take in order to be able to limit the intake of foods containing artificial sweeteners.

Katherine Johnson, M.D., is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist with clinical expertise in general obstetrics and gynecology, family planning, women’s health, and gynecology.

She is affiliated with the Obstetrics and Gynecology division at an undisclosed healthcare institution and the online platform,

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