|Downing diet soda tied to risk of premature birth|
|Friday, 23 July 2010 00:00|
New research suggests that drinking lots of artificially sweetened beverages may be linked with an increased risk of premature births.
"It may be non-optional for pregnant women to have high consumption of these types of products," Dr. Thorhallur I. Halldorsson of the Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen, one of the researchers on the study, told Reuters Health.
"Diet" drinks are widely promoted as a healthy alternative to sugary sodas and juices, but Halldorsson and his colleagues note that there's been little research on the safety of regular consumption of artificial sweeteners in humans.
Soft drinks -- both artificially sweetened and sugar sweetened -- were recently linked to high blood pressure, the researchers add, which increases the risk of premature delivery. To investigate whether there might be a direct link, the researchers looked at nearly 60,000 Danish women who reported on their diet, including how many soft drinks they had each day, at around 25 weeks of pregnancy.
Around 5 percent of women delivered their babies before 37 weeks.
Women who had at least one serving of artificially sweetened soda a day while they were pregnant were 38 percent more likely to deliver preterm than women who drank no diet soda at all, the researchers report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.