Diet Soda & Preterm Birth

Diet Soda & Preterm Birth
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Aspartame may be the reason that diet soda consumption during pregnancy has been linked to premature birth.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

When we learned how bad butter was, the food industry responded by giving us margarine—which turned out even worse. When dietary guidelines told us to lower our fat intake, in hopes we’d pick up an apple, the food industry gave us fudge-drizzled chocolate chip cookies. Similar reasoning led to the billion dollar diet soda industry. Now “with vitamins and minerals.”

“Intake of artificially sweetened soft drinks and risk of preterm delivery: a prospective cohort study in 59,334 [pregnant Danes].”   Conclusion: “Daily intake of artificially sweetened soft drinks may increase the risk of preterm delivery.” And, it probably wasn’t the caffeine or other additives, since the same sweetened versions of the soda didn’t result in the same problem.

So, what is it? They think it’s the aspartame. “After ingestion, aspartame is broken down into…methanol [wood alcohol]. Methanol is oxidized into formaldehyde…” —which isn’t great stuff. This might be one factor explaining reports of headaches linked to the intake of aspartame.

Researchers suggest that “the observed shortening of [pregnancy] could either be related to the effects of methanol on the fetal neuroendocrine system…or an indirect action [on the mother’s uterus].”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to: NCI Visuals OnlinePhil Are Go!; and Jim Forest via flickr

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

When we learned how bad butter was, the food industry responded by giving us margarine—which turned out even worse. When dietary guidelines told us to lower our fat intake, in hopes we’d pick up an apple, the food industry gave us fudge-drizzled chocolate chip cookies. Similar reasoning led to the billion dollar diet soda industry. Now “with vitamins and minerals.”

“Intake of artificially sweetened soft drinks and risk of preterm delivery: a prospective cohort study in 59,334 [pregnant Danes].”   Conclusion: “Daily intake of artificially sweetened soft drinks may increase the risk of preterm delivery.” And, it probably wasn’t the caffeine or other additives, since the same sweetened versions of the soda didn’t result in the same problem.

So, what is it? They think it’s the aspartame. “After ingestion, aspartame is broken down into…methanol [wood alcohol]. Methanol is oxidized into formaldehyde…” —which isn’t great stuff. This might be one factor explaining reports of headaches linked to the intake of aspartame.

Researchers suggest that “the observed shortening of [pregnancy] could either be related to the effects of methanol on the fetal neuroendocrine system…or an indirect action [on the mother’s uterus].”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to: NCI Visuals OnlinePhil Are Go!; and Jim Forest via flickr

Doctor's Note

Folks may also be interested in Aspartame-Induced Fibromyalgia. Regular soda may not be a good idea, either. High-fructose corn syrup may contain mercury (see Mercury in Corn Syrup?). And, it’s no good for our kids, either—see Diet & Hyperactivity. For a discussion of how studies funded by soft drink corporations may be biased, see Food Industry “Funding Effect”. I have dozens of other videos on pregnancy, too.

For more context, check out my associated blog posts: Aspartame: Fibromyalgia & Preterm BirthHead Shrinking from Grilling Meat; and Is There a Safe, Low-Calorie Sweetener? 

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