To prevent the scale from panicking, the pregnant women may be tempted to turn to sweeteners low calorie (aspartame, acesulfame-k, stevia…) To sweeten drinks, dairy products, etc. But if they have the advantage of avoiding eating sugar, these sweeteners could have a negative impact on the health of the unborn baby, andespecially on his microbiota, or intestinal flora.
Published on January 29 in the specialist journal Gut, a new study conducted on laboratory rats has indeed shown that the consumption of sweeteners, natural or not, during pregnancy, could “disrupt weight regulation, glucose control and gut microbiota in mothers and their offspring”.
Noting changes in the microbiota of the offspring of rats who consumed sweeteners, the researchers used fecal transplantation to show the direct influence of this altered microbiota on the increased risk of obesity. Rodents thus transplanted gained more weight and had more problems regulating glycemia (blood glucose levels) than non-transplanted rodents.
“TheLow-calorie sweeteners are considered safe during pregnancy and lactation, however, evidence is emerging from human studies to suggest that they may increase body weight and other cardiovascular risk factors”Said Dr Raylene Reimer, researcher in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Calgary (Canada). “Even stevia, which is hailed as a natural alternative to aspartame and other low-calorie artificial sweeteners, has shown a similar impact on the increased risk of obesity at the beginning of life“, he added.
It would therefore be better, in the name of the precautionary principle, to avoid the consumption of sweeteners during pregnancy and breastfeeding, even if it means opt for a little honey or unrefined sugar (except medical contraindication such as gestational diabetes), especially since they also have other health benefits.