Food and Behaviour Research

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Maternal consumption of artificially sweetened beverages during pregnancy, and offspring growth through 7 years of age: a prospective cohort study

Zhu Y, Olsen SF, Mendola P, Halldorsson TI, Rawal S, Hinkle SN, Yeung EH, Chavarro JE, Grunnet LG, Granström C, Bjerregaard AA, Hu FB, Zhang C (2017) Int J Epidemiol.  2017 Jun 6.  doi: 10.1093/ije/dyx095. [Epub ahead of print] 

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Abstract:

BACKGROUND:

Artificial sweeteners are widely replacing caloric sweeteners. Data on long-term impact of artificially sweetened beverage (ASB) consumption during pregnancy on offspring obesity risk are lacking. We prospectively investigated intake of ASBs and sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) during pregnancy in relation to offspring growth through age 7 years among high-risk children born to women with gestational diabetes.

METHODS:

In a prospective study of 918 mother-singleton child dyads from the Danish National Birth Cohort, maternal dietary intake was assessed by a food frequency questionnaire during pregnancy. Offspring body mass index z-scores (BMIZ) and overweight/obesity status were derived using weight and length/height at birth, 5 and 12 months and 7 years. Linear regression and Poisson regression with robust standard errors were used, adjusting for major risk factors.

RESULTS:

Approximately half of women reported consuming ASBs during pregnancy and 9% consumed daily. Compared to never consumption, daily ASB intake during pregnancy was positively associated with offspring large-for-gestational age [adjusted relative risk (aRR) 1.57; 95% CI: 1.05, 2.35 at birth], BMIZ (adjusted β 0.59; 95% CI: 0.23, 0.96) and overweight/obesity (aRR 1.93; 95% CI; 1.24, 3.01) at 7 years. Per-serving-per-day substitution of ASBs with water during pregnancy was related to a lower overweight/obesity risk at 7 years (aRR 0.83; 95% CI: 0.76, 0.91), whereas SSB substitution with ASBs was not related to a lower risk (aRR 1.14; 95% CI: 1.00, 1.31).

CONCLUSIONS:

Our findings illustrated positive associations between intrauterine exposure to ASBs and birth size and risk of overweight/obesity at 7 years. Data with longer follow-up are warranted.