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Low-calorie sweeteners are safe to consume during pregnancy


An allegation, made by a group of Danish researchers1, that the intake of low calorie soft drinks increases the risk of preterm delivery is not consistent with the extensive body of scientific evidence that shows these products are safe.
The use of low calorie sweeteners has been very well studied both in humans and in animals. This research has shown no adverse effects on the mother or developing baby related to the use of low calorie sweeteners.
Before being authorised for use in food and drinks, all low-calorie sweeteners must undergo a range of safety evaluations by independent national and international scientific expert committees, including the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives of the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organisation and the World Health Organisation (JECFA) at international level, and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) at European level. These evaluations take into account potentially sensitive groups such as pregnant women, infants and children.
There are many factors that increase the risk of premature births, such as smoking, diabetes, poor nutrition, anaemia, stress, depression and many more.  They include overweight and obesity.
By providing sweetness without calories, sweeteners can make a useful contribution to a healthy, calorie-controlled diet. At a time when the consequences of overweight and obesity, including in pregnancy, pose a significant challenge to public health, unsettling potentially sensitive population groups about choices that help them control their weight is particularly irresponsible.
1Intake of artificially sweetened soft drinks and risk of preterm delivery. Halldorsson TI et al. AJCN - published ahead of print, June 30 2010

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