Avoiding Artificial Sweeteners: Children and Pregnant Moms

Is it dangerous for pregnant women and children to eat artificial sweeteners? Maybe. The jury is still out – because the risks aren’t clear, it is safer for children and pregnant women to avoid artificial sweeteners. Even the makers of Splenda agree, saying "One should note, however, that foods made with low-calorie sweeteners are not normally a recommended part of a child's diet, since calories are important to a growing child's body."/

Some scientists have evidence to prove the risk. “Consumption of even moderate amounts of aspartame during pregnancy may produce a dramatic increase in the number of children born with diminished brain function,” warns Diana Dow-Edwards, PhD research scientist, SUNY Health Science Center, Brooklyn, NY

Dr. William Sears, a prolific writer, researcher and pediatrician strongly believes artificial sweeteners should not be given to children. “Even though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted artificial sweeteners the status of "generally regarded as safe" (GRAS), I came across several controversial findings. In his book Excitotoxins, board-certified neurosurgeon Dr. Russell Blaylock reviews the studies on aspartame and concludes that it is not safe, especially for the growing brains of children. Aspartame contains four calories per teaspoon, compared to the 16 in table sugar. Is saving a mere 12 calories really worth the potential risks of feeding these chemicals to your child?”

Aspertame can be found in soft drinks, over-the-counter drugs and prescription drugs (very common and listed under "inactive ingredients"), vitamin and herb supplements, yogurt, instant breakfasts, candy, breath mints, cereals, sugar-free chewing gum, cocoa mixes, coffee beverages, instant breakfasts, gelatin desserts, frozen desserts, juice beverages, laxatives, milk drinks, shake mixes, tabletop sweeteners, tea beverages, and instant teas and coffees.

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