Pregnancy: Fake Sugar or Real Sugar?

My husband and I took an impromptu trip to Vermont this weekend to enjoy the beautiful weather.  As a result this post is up today instead of Friday.  Here’s a photo of me in front of the Equinox pond in Manchester, VT.  We went on some really nice walks/easy hikes; the weather was close to 80 degrees!

Before our walk, I knew I needed some extra fuel so I grabbed an apple and some water to get me through.  Here’s a photo that was taken when I didn’t realize with my fuel in hand:

Back to Pregnancy Nutrition.  Another decision you are faced with making during pregnancy is what kind of sugar you will use.  Artificial sweeteners: Sucralose (splenda) and Aspartame (equal) are approved during pregnancy but some people choose not to use them.  Saccharin (sweet ‘n low) is of concern since it does cross over the placenta.  On the other hand stevia has not been approved for pregnancy.

Coffee and Tea: If you are drinking coffee or tea, whether it is decaf or regular, what are you using to sweeten it if anything?  Personally, I chose to eliminate artificial sweeteners (I used them on occasion beforehand), I didn’t feel the need to add unknown things to my body.  When I have a decaf latte, I have it made with soy milk which is already sweetened or I get skim milk and sometimes I drink it as is or add one pack of real sugar.  With tea, I enjoy it plain, but that’s how I’ve always had it.

Diet Soda and Drinks: This will be your personal opinion if you want to include it or not.  Again for me, I gave up all diet sodas (not that I drank much before!).  Besides the artificial sweetener there are lots of other chemicals that you may want to think twice about putting in your body especially during this time.  If you really love your diet soda, just try to consume it in moderation.

Artificially Sweetened Yogurts & Other Foods: Read labels if you want to avoid artificial sweeteners, they are lurking in a lot of diet and light products.  For example the light yogurts are sweetened with them, and I would recommend switching to plain and sweetening it yourself with fruit and a little honey or jam if you need more sweetness.

Sugar: Regular sugar is fine during pregnancy, just keep in mind that the calories do add up.  Try to reduce sugar where you can.  Remember pregnancy is not a time to give in just because “you can.”  Trust me you will regret it afterwards if you do!

Bottom Line: Decide what you want to do and read labels carefully.  As I mentioned before Stevia is not yet approved during pregnancy, and it’s starting to pop up in a lot of products.

Have you given up artificial sweeteners during pregnancy?

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7 Responses

  1. You look great, Eve! I am not pregnant but I gave up artificial sweeteners for lent two years ago and once Easter rolled around I didn’t miss it at all and have continued to eliminate them. It’s amazing how I can now taste the difference when I eat something with an artificial sweetener in it — it’s so fake tasting! I got used to coffee with just milk and I add a tiny bit of honey to my tea once in a while.

  2. you are such a cute lil pregger! i hope i look half as good as you one day (hopefully soon!) 😉

  3. Another great natural sweetener is organic pure maple syrup…I know, sounds weird but actually tastes really good in coffee! Congratulations on the little one-you look so happy!

  4. I would be interested in your thoughts about HFCS in regular soda. Before pregnancy, if I drank pop (yes that’s what we Canadians call it), it was diet, but over time had tried to eliminate aspartame as much as possible as some diet sodas are now made with splenda. Now that I’m pregnant, while I mostly drink water, milk and OJ, if I feel the need for a drink of pop, I am always conflicted about getting regular or diet. I never can decide which is a better choice, the HFCS or aspartame (if it’s fountain pop). The “lesser” of the evils?

    • Hi Angie. This is a tough question. HFCS and aspartame are both things that should be limited, but if you have either in small quantities I believe you will be fine (at least that’s where scientific studies leave us right now). If someone has blood sugar problems or weight problems, I say go with the diet once in a while. However, if you can afford the extra calories and are not consuming other foods with added sugars than a regular soda once in a while is not an issue. As you mentioned most liquids should be consumed as water, seltzer, milk, 100% juice (in moderation), unsweetened tea (iced or hot), and coffee (decaf or regular 1-2 cups/day). I hope that helps!

  5. […] Sugar substitute recommendations are the same from pregnancy […]

  6. Products that are labeled zero calories are not that promising. It’s true. There are no calories in them but to make them taste as good as they are, substitutes are added. Artificial sweeteners that come with side effects are included in the ingredients. They have to be, to redeem the flavor. Otherwise, the products will end up too awful to be a delight.You’d think you’re in the right track with artificial sweeteners. With no calories, you can say goodbye to some extra pounds in your system. You feel as if you’re doing alright. Well, you’re not. Truth be told, if you intend on losing weight through these empty calories, you are kidding yourself. Not only do they not have any dieting advantage, they, also, puncture your body with other effects.`

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