Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy: Artificial Sweeteners and Caffeine

When you are carrying another life inside of you, being careful about the things you eat can increase the likelihood of your baby being born without serious complications. Artificial sweeteners and caffeine are definitely foods to avoid during pregnancy because they put you and your unborn baby at risk for a number of health problems.

Dangers of Eating Artificial Sweeteners While You Are Pregnant

Saccharin, aspartame and sucralose are artificial sweeteners that are common in some of your favorite products. If you’re ever had a diet soda or sweetened your goodies with Sweet ‘N Low, Splenda, Equal or Nutra-Sweet, you have definitely consumed one or more of these dangerous sweeteners.

Artificial sweeteners top the list of foods to avoid during pregnancy because they are dangerous for your unborn baby’s health. These sweeteners increase your craving for sugar and contain empty calories that provide no nutritional value for you or your fetus.

Aspartame turns to formaldehyde in the body and can damage DNA. This artificial sweetener has been linked to more than two dozen neuropsychiatric disorders. Some of them include:

• insomnia
• slurred speech
• vertigo
• memory loss
• depression
• seizures
• headaches
• migraines
• muscle spasms
• tinnitus
• joint pain
• vision problems
• anxiety attacks
• fatigue
• breathing difficulties
• hearing loss

Aspartame can also contribute to or worsen conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, diabetes, birth defects, fibromyalgia, Alzheimer’s, lymphoma, brain tumors and mental retardation.

Consuming large amounts of saccharin can cause eczema, wheezing, diarrhea, blisters on the tongue, tachycardia, headaches and sensory neuropathy. As if all of this isn’t reason enough to nix saccharin from your pregnancy diet, this artificial sweetener has also been shown to cause cancer in lab animals.

In preapproval research, sucralose has been shown to enlarge the liver and kidneys, and cause shrinkage of the thymus glands. Since there are no long-term independent human research studies to prove that sucralose is safe to use over the long-haul, other dangers could emerge years down the line.

Safe Alternatives to Artificial Sweeteners

You do not have to drink your favorite organic coffee or tea bland, if you really need to satisfy your sweet tooth, add a little raw honey, agave syrup, stevia or xylitol. These are safer alternatives to artificial sweeteners.

Dangers of Consuming Caffeine During Pregnancy

Caffeine is found in popular foods and drinks like chocolate, tea, soda, and coffee. When you consume caffeine, it gets into your unborn baby’s system. Although your body may be able to handle the effects of this stimulant, your baby will have a hard time metabolizing it because of his immature metabolism.

Caffeine raises the heart rate, increases blood pressure, interferes with calcium absorption, reduces iron absorption, affects blood sugar regulation, weakens adrenal glands, causes dehydration, and interferes with your baby’s ability to sleep.

It is recommended that expecting mothers reduce their caffeine intake to 150mg per day. This would equal about one 8 ounce cup of coffee or three cups of black tea.

Soda has 40 to 75mg of caffeine per can, dark chocolate contains 5 to 35mg per ounce, and milk chocolate contains 1 to 15mg per ounce. These items are not recommended during pregnancy because they contain high fructose corn syrup, sugar and artificial sweeteners that can damage your baby’s health.

A healthy pregnancy diet means getting rid of foods and drinks that are potentially harmful to your fetus. Removing caffeine and artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose and saccharin from your diet can improve your chances of giving birth to a healthy, happy child.

Proper nutrition is the key to a healthy pregnancy. To learn all about foods to avoid during pregnancy visit

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