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Are Artificial Sweeteners Safe During Pregnancy?

Here's the bittersweet truth.
ByThe Bump Editors
Updated
April 5, 2017
spoons sugar sweetener
Image: iStock

We know you love the sweet stuff, but it’s time to look more closely at those artificial sweetener packets now that you’re pregnant. “The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved aspartame, acesulfame-K and sucralose for use during pregnancy. Because saccharin crosses the placenta, it’s not recommended during pregnancy,” says Suzanne Merrill-Nach, MD, a San Diego-based OB/GYN. So what does that mean? You can safely use Equal or Nutrasweet (aspartame), Sunett (acesulfame-K) and Splenda (sucralose), but stay away from Sweet ‘N Low (saccharin). Saccharin may still remain in the fetal tissue and doctors don’t know how that affects the fetus. The American Pregnancy Association also notes that stevia (rebaudioside-A) is okay for pregnant women.

But though some of these artificial sweeteners have the green light from the FDA, they should still be used sparingly. Artificial sweetener doesn’t have vitamins and minerals, so filling up on them could mean you’re not getting the nutrition you need. You should also limit your intake of natural sweeteners, like sucrose, dextrose, honey, corn sugar, fructose and maltose. They’re safe to use during pregnancy, unless you have diabetes, but because they contain large amounts of sugar, don’t go too crazy.

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