You take so much care of your health and that of your unborn baby during pregnancy. Whether you are trying to cut down calories or simply giving into your food cravings, are you drinking diet coke while expecting?
Pregnancy brings with it several physical, mental and emotional changes. It has a huge impact on your sense of taste and smell. You start craving for unusual food and weight gain is inevitable during pregnancy. Whether you were always fond of diet soda or it is a new-found obsession since your pregnancy, you may be craving more for it now. Pregnancy can certainly invoke that craving for the bubbly feeling of the soda in your mouth and the taste of cola! Aah.. But, should you drink diet soda during pregnancy? Well, it does contain caffeine and non-nutritive artificial sweeteners. Cravings are so hard to ignore and pregnancy just makes it worse. Many women experience caffeine cravings during pregnancy. So, are diet soda and pregnancy a safe combination? Here is the answer.
Is it Safe to Drink Diet Soda during Pregnancy?
Before we delve more into that question, I would like to ask you, do you know what does your diet soda contain? Carefully read its label to find out any of the artificial sweeteners listed below that are commonly found in your diet soda.
- Aspartame: It is one of the first artificial sweeteners that was used in diet soda. Although it is said that aspartame is safe to ingest if you have it in moderation during pregnancy, studies suggest that it is a slow killer and promotes the production of free radicals that can damage the brain of the fetus. It could also cause other health problems such as respiratory problems and hearing problems, Parkinson’s disease and chronic fatigue syndrome. Even one can of diet soda increases the level of toxicity in your body and causes DNA damage in both the mother and the child or even if someone is not expecting.
- Sucralose: It is a relatively new artificial sweetener and may be safe for consumption. It is derived from sugar and often found in baked goods, chewing gums, sauces, frozen dairy products and fruit juices. It does not affect the blood sugar level. It has no calories and is safe to consume. FDA has suggested that sucralose is safe to consume during pregnancy. Sucralose is essentially chlorinated sucrose.
- Saccharin: This artificial sweetener was used with aspartame initially. It has often been in controversies suggesting that it can cause birth defects in babies. You should avoid consuming anything that contains saccharin during pregnancy and even breastfeeding stages. It easily mixes into the blood and even passes through the placenta and stays in the tissues of the fetus. Saccharin was once listed as one of the possible agents to trigger cancer. However, in 2001 it was cleared off from the possibility of being a carcinogen.
Now, let me make it easier for you to comprehend, your diet soda is loaded with these artificial sweeteners! Hence, it would be wise to forgo your diet soda because it contains high doses of caffeine, apart from these chemicals, too! Caffeine too can pass through the placenta and is difficult for your baby to completely metabolize it because he/she is still in the developmental stages. This can result in disturbances in the baby’s sleeping cycles, low birth weight and preterm labor. According to a study conducted to understand the relationship between caffeine and pregnancy, it was found out that in the early stages of pregnancy, a cup of coffee can increase your chances of a miscarriage by two times! Apart from diet soda, there are so many foods that women indulge in during this time that contain far more caffeine like chocolates, coffees and teas. This is the unhealthiest thing you could do to your baby. If you are a diabetic or suffering from gestational diabetes, absolutely say NO to them! Did you know? A bar of chocolate contains as much caffeine as a 1/4th cup of coffee does. You may have often heard that drinking coffee while pregnant can create serious complications for your baby’s health. You should eat such food and drinks in moderation. It is recommended by health experts that you limit the consumption of caffeine to 200 mg during pregnancy. That is 2 cups of coffee or 350 ml of soda. If you still prefer drinking them, you should increase your intake of water, milk and freshly squeezed fruit juices to counteract any negative effects of diet soda that’s bad for you during pregnancy.
Drinking diet soda during pregnancy is definitely BAD for you. If you are/were drinking diet soda during pregnancy to prevent weight gain, you should know about the dangers of dieting while pregnant and absolutely steer clear of it. Other drinks you should absolutely avoid during pregnancy are wine and herbal teas that contain caffeine like lemongrass tea, ginger tea and green tea. Check the list of ingredients on their labels before you buy them. Drinking something that contains sugar but no caffeine is a far safer option than drinking caffeinated drinks like diet soda. All doctors despise the consumption of cola even for a normal person. Imagine how much more worse it could be for a pregnant woman. It may be difficult to control your cravings now but your one sacrifice could help ensure that your baby is born healthy. It will also prevent health complications in future.