From Dr. Mercola:
The decisions you make before your baby is born have a significant impact on his or her health for years to come. It’s only been recently that researchers have begun to fully understand the complexity behind the human genome and the extent to which it is expressed for generations in the future.1
Both mother’s and father’s genetic material have an impact on the health of their offspring, including the likelihood the child may experience obesity in his or her lifetime.2 Each year, scientists discover new information that links your health with a transgenerational impact.
New research has also linked the impact of pregnancy weight gain with the future weight of your child, even when your little one is born in a normal weight range.3
In addition, research shows that consuming artificial sweeteners during pregnancy may also influence your child’s future weight. The choices women make during pregnancy continue to follow the child all his life.
Consuming Artificial Sweeteners During Pregnancy May Influence Your Child’s Weight
The use of artificial sweeteners has increased substantially in the past decade. Between 1991 and 2007, the use of artificial sweeteners almost doubled.4
Previously, animal studies suggested that consuming artificial sweeteners while pregnant would place the offspring at risk for obesity. Until recently, there have not been human studies demonstrating the same effect.
Research led by Meghan Azad, Ph.D. from the University of Manitoba examined the association between mothers who drank diet sodas sweetened with artificial sweeteners, such as NutraSweet, Splenda and Equal, and the effect on the baby’s body mass index (BMI) in the first year after birth. 5
Over 3,000 women participated in the study. Drinking diet sodas daily appeared to increase the risk two-fold that the infant would be overweight when they reached 1 year of age. They did not find a comparable association with the consumption of drinks sweetened with regular white sugar.
The researchers could not link the increased risk of obesity in the baby with other obesity risk factors, such as mother’s weight, quality of the diet and total calorie intake. The authors, quoted in ScienceDaily, concluded:
“To our knowledge, our results provide the first human evidence that artificial sweetener consumption during pregnancy may increase the risk of early childhood overweight.
Given the current epidemic of childhood obesity and the widespread consumption of artificial sweeteners, further research is warranted to replicate our findings in other cohorts, evaluate specific NNS (nonnutritive sweeteners) and longer-term outcomes, and study the underlying biological mechanisms.”6
How Aspartame Is Broken Down in Your Body
Aspartame is a sweet substance used primarily in low-calorie drinks. It was discovered quite by accident when chemist James Schlatter Ph.D., was working on a drug to treat ulcers.7 Originally sold under the brand name NutraSweet, today it is also the artificial sweetener in Equal, Equal Spoonful and Equal Measure.
Aspartame stimulates your taste buds in the same way as sugar but with significant differences. It’s created by combining two different amino acids, with