London: Drinking lots of artificially sweetened beverages during pregnancy increases the risk of premature births, according to a new study. The study, conducted on almost 60,000 pregnant women in Denmark, found that those who drank artificially sweetened soft drinks, whether fizzy or still, were more likely to give birth early.
The effect was limited to women whose birth was deliberately induced early suggesting the drinks do not trigger premature labour but rather cause changes in the body that mean an early birth is necessary. It was suggested that this could due to a rise in blood pressure or development of diabetes but the researchers ruled this out. "In conclusion, our findings suggest that the daily intake of artificially sweetened soft drinks may be associated with an increased risk of preterm delivery,” the Telegraph quoted Dr Halldorsson as saying. "The relative consistency of our findings for carbonated and noncarbonated soft drinks and the absence of an association for sugar-sweetened soft drinks suggest that the content of artificial sweeteners might be the causal factor. "However, the replication of our findings in another experimental setting is warranted," Dr Halldorsson added. The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. ANI