Research recently published in the JAMA Pediatrics journal shows how childhood obesity is linked to pregnancy indulgence. According to the study, a diet high in sodas and artificial sweeteners increases the risk of obesity in the child as well, not only the mother.
Pregnant women who consume artificial-sweetened beverages are twice as likely to have their babies overweight by the time they reach the age of one. This conclusion was the result of a study conducted on 3.033 pairs of mothers from the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development Study.
The subjects were asked to respond to questionnaires regarding their food and drink diet during the last two trimesters of pregnancy. After the birth of the babies, researchers measured them to determine if there are consequences of bad eating and drinking habits during the pregnancy. After analyzing the measurements and the questionnaires, the medical staff found that almost 30 percent of the women in the study consumed artificially-sweetened beverages. More that 5 percent of them consumed sodas every day. It was also discovered that 5.1 percent of their babies were classified as overweight by the time they reached the age of one.
It is a fact that women who indulged themselves in the consumption of sodas have a far higher chance to give birth to children with a high BMI score. In the last three decades, obesity has doubled in children. The Western world is facing an obesity crisis, and things are not looking good in the future either.
Although the researchers point out that the study does not prove causation, because it leaves room for error, the results are important. The study provides the first evidence that artificial sweeteners intake by pregnant women increases the risk of infant obesity. Although scientists are not sure what are the mechanisms that caused this increasement in weight, they have theories. Some researchers believe that artificial sweeteners stimulate the appetite. Others believe that artificial sweeteners create metabolic changes by altering the bacteria found in the gut.
Whatever the reasons, it is crucial that we measure our artificial sweeteners intake. Because childhood obesity is linked to pregnancy indulgence, it is vital the we change the way we eat and drink. As more non-nutritive sweeteners are added to our beverages and food, the quality of our health is declining.