Artificial sweeteners linked to overweight in infants

September 1, 2016

Investigators used a food frequency questionnaire to assess how often 3003 pregnant women drank artificially sweetened or sugar-sweetened beverages during their second or third trimesters. They then analyzed how this data correlated with the body mass index of these mothers’ babies at age 1 year.

Artificial sweeteners during pregnancy may be related to infants’ overweight. Investigators used a food frequency questionnaire to assess how often 3003 pregnant women drank artificially sweetened or sugar-sweetened beverages during their second or third trimesters. They then analyzed how this data correlated with the body mass index of these mothers’ babies at age 1 year. The infants born to mothers who drank artificially sweetened beverages every day were twice as likely to be overweight at 1 year of age as infants born to mothers who did not drink these beverages. Interestingly, investigators found no comparable associations for sugar-sweetened drinks (Azad MB, et al. JAMA Pediatr. 2016;170[7]:662-670). 

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Ms Freedman is a freelance medical editor and writer in New Jersey. She has nothing to disclose in regard to affiliations with or financial interests in any organizations that may have an interest in any part of this article.