There are a lot of options and much confusion when it comes to artificial sweeteners. Pregnant women can safely use low-calorie sweeteners in moderation, unless otherwise advised by their physicians. Many health organizations and healthcare providers suggest limiting artificially-sweetened foods in your diet to only 2 or 3 servings a day. Examples of one serving include:
- 12 ounce can of pop
- 1/2 cup of pudding, ice cream, or gelatin product
- one bowl of sweetened cereal
- one portion of a bakery item
Discuss the use of low-calorie sweeteners with your health care provider, especially if you are diabetic or need to control calorie intake.
The following low-calorie sweeteners have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and are considered safe for pregnant women and children:
- Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal, Sugar Twin) is a combination of two amino acids, phenylalanine and aspartic acid. It is two hundred times sweeter than table sugar. It can be used in moderation by diabetics. One packet of Equal is the same in sweetness as two teaspoons of sugar. The average amount used supplies no calories. Individuals who have phenylketonuria (PKU) and cannot metabolize phenylalanine, or are sensitive to aspartame, should not use it.
- Saccharin (Sweet'N Low, Sweet Twin, Necta Sweet) is not metabolized and passes through the digestive system unchanged. It is a noncaloric sweetener produced from an organic compound. It is 375 times as sweet as table sugar and can be used in moderate amounts by diabetics.