Mums-to-be who opt for fizzy drinks with artificial sweeteners during their pregnancies are more likely to give birth prematurely, a new study has found.
For the EU-funded research, 60,000 women were studied, reports the Daily Mail. Those who drank an average of one can of diet soda a day were 38% more likely to give birth early. The risk went up to 78% if four or more drinks were consumed daily.
As there was no link between fizzy drinks sweetened by sugar and premature birth, researchers believe it is the chemical sweeteners used in the diet drinks that can bring forward birth. Chemicals such as methanol and saccharine are found in sweeteners, which have been linked to creating acids in the body and even accumulating in the placenta.
“I would think it is prudent for pregnant women to diminish consumption of these drinks and possibly those foods containing artificial sweeteners,” said public health expert Professor Erik Millstone, from the University of Sussex.
The British Soft Drinks Association responded by urging that the findings “should not be over-stated.”