Considered a “false sugar”, aspartame absorbed during pregnancy would affect the baby’s weight and disturb its intestinal flora.

Developed in 1965 by an American chemist after the accidental discovery of the sweet taste of a molecule, aspartame is now found in more than 6,000 foods (drinks, chewing gum, etc.) and 500 medicines every day. As a sugar substitute, aspartame is often (mistakenly) considered to be healthier.

The fascination of low calorie sweeteners

However, a new study published in the BMJ magazine shows that consuming low-calorie sweeteners during pregnancy would increase the accumulation of body fat in the baby and disturb its intestinal microbiota (also called intestinal flora, which is the totality of microorganisms found in the human digestive tract).

“Low-calorie sweeteners (also known as sugar substitutes or false sugars, editor’s note) are considered safe for consumption during pregnancy and lactation, but studies suggest that they can increase body weight and lead to cardiovascular risk factors,” said Dr. Raylene Reimer, professor at the University of Calgary, Canada. She also adds: Stevia, hailed as a natural alternative to aspartame and other low-calorie artificial sweeteners, has been shown to have a similar effect on the increased risk of obesity in young children. In fact for those women wanting to lose weight nothing beats a health diet and exercises.  Intermitent fasting is another way to lose weight as it raises the levels of a hormone which is known for its fat burning properties. For more info on this go to Genf20!

The growing prevalence of obesity worldwide has led to increased consumption of low-calorie sweeteners, especially among women and children. As a result, this trend has been associated with older infants and the first menstruation in girls under 10 years of age. “Understanding the influence of food ingredients on maternal metabolism and intestinal microbiota can help define optimal maternal nutrition, which in turn promotes a healthier future for mother and child,” says the researcher.

The biggest babies in the world

Obesity in children occurs when their weight in relation to their height exceeds 20% on average. At birth, a child is considered overweight if it weighs more than 4 kg. As an anecdote we recall that in 2017 an Australian woman gave birth to a 6 kg child in a hospital in Heidelberg, on the outskirts of Melbourne. In the United States, a Texan named Joy Buckley gave birth to a girl weighing almost 7 kg.