Pregnant women who consume Sweeteners Risk Having Obese Children

A new study by Canadian researchers has indicated that pregnant women who consume lots of artificial sweeteners could be more at risk of giving birth to children who end up being obese.

The study, though carried out on rats, found that pregnant rats fed stevia or aspartame artificial sweeteners had pups that were fatter.

The researchers who performed the experiment stated that their findings could be used to caution expectant mothers against consuming sweeteners, noting that other studies have found similar findings in humans.

Explaining how the study was performed, the experts said that the pregnant rats were split into three groups, adding that while some were given aspartame, which is used in Diet Coke, others were given stevia which is used in 7UP Free.

The third group of pregnant rats was given water, allowing the researchers to detect any differences between the groups.

Their pups were weighed as soon as they gave birth with tests carried out to see how their mother’s diet affected their gut bacteria.

Writing in the health journal Frontiers in Nutrition, the researchers noted that there were barely any effects visible on the rats which had given birth but added that the pups born to sweetener-fed mothers were heavier with a higher percentage of body fat. They also showed higher levels of some microbes and fewer of others, the researchers said.

Speaking on their findings, one of the researchers, Professor Raylene Reimer with the University of Calgary stressed that a mother’s diet during pregnancy is very important for the short- and long-term health of their infants, noting that pregnant women should follow diet guidelines and stay within the recommended weight gain guidelines for pregnancy.

He further said, “Even though the offspring never consumed the low-calorie sweeteners themselves, their gut bacteria and obesity risk were influenced by the sweeteners that their mothers consumed during pregnancy.

We found that specific bacteria and their enzymes were linked to how much weight the offspring gained and how much body fat they accumulated.”

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