Are artificial sweeteners safe during pregnancy and breast-feeding?
A nutrient-rich diet is important for both you and your baby when you are pregnant or breast-feeding. And it's not a good idea to diet when you are breast-feeding. It's fine to have a diet drink or artificially sweetened foods now and then. But be sure they don't take the place of the nutrient-rich foods you need while you're pregnant or breast-feeding.
The following artificial sweeteners are considered safe to use in moderation during pregnancy and breast-feeding:
- Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet)
- Acesulfame K (Sunett)
- Sucralose (Splenda)
- Stevia (Truvia, PureVia, SweetLeaf)
- Advantame (no brand name)
- Sugar alcohols, which include mannitol, sorbitol, and xylitol
Saccharin (Sweet 'N Low, Sugar Twin) is deemed safe by the FDA for use during pregnancy and breast-feeding. But you may want to check with your doctor before you use it. Some pregnant women choose to avoid saccharin because it has been shown to cross the placenta to the fetus.
Do artificial sweeteners raise blood sugar?
No. Artificial sweeteners provide no energy, so they won't affect your blood sugar. If you have diabetes, these substitutes are safe to use. But that's not true of sugar alcohols. They don't cause sudden spikes in blood sugar, but the carbohydrate in them can affect your blood sugar.
If you have diabetes, read food labels carefully to find out the amount of carbohydrate in each serving of food containing sugar alcohol. It's also a good idea to test your blood sugar after you eat foods with sugar alcohols or artificial sweeteners so you can find out how they affect your blood sugar.