08 Dec Could Artificial Sweeteners Harm Your Baby?
There are so many parents out there who do their best to make sure their kids are eating healthy, balanced meals. However, what many parents don’t realize is that even “healthy” and “kid-friendly” prepared foods and snacks are often filled with artificial sweeteners. These “nonnutritive” sweeteners have become an increasingly common in the diets of many U.S. residents. In fact, nearly 25% of children consume these sweeteners regularly.
There has been a great deal of research on artificial sweeteners in the past, particularly on adults. But what will these artificial sweeteners do to your baby?
The American Academy of Pediatrics, or the AAP, has looked at some of the studies on sweeteners and issued some guidelines for parents who are worried about their effects. Overall, the AAP’s stance on these sweeteners is that there is “still a lot to learn.” This primarily has to do with a child’s risk for obesity or type 2 diabetes. There is also more research to be done on how artificial sweeteners in babies and how it will impact their weight, taste preferences and long-term health.
The research is still very up in the air. For example, there are some studies that suggest nonnutritive sweeteners can reduce weight gain when compared to sugar. On the other hand, there are studies that suggest artificial sweeteners can actually result in weight gain. Overall, the findings are inconsistent.
So, what do experts recommend? First, it is important for parents to read the labels on any food or beverages that they give their child and pay close attention to the artificial sweeteners. The AAP is currently working on encouraging food and beverage companies to report these sweeteners on their food and beverage labels—where as now, these additives are simple listed among the ingredients.
One of the most important take aways of these studies is that there are many parents who are unaware how much artificial sweetener is actually in many everyday products. In fact, one study found that only 23% of parents can correctly identify food products that contain artificial sweeteners. Instead, many parents simply reach for any food products that have “reduced sugar” labels, thinking they were getting a healthier option, not understanding that the sweet taste in these products came from an artificial sweetener.
The best thing that you can do as a parent is to start reading the labels of everything that you buy for your kids, and do your best to limit the amount of artificial sweeteners your child consumes to help keep their diet as healthy and natural as possible. If you have any questions about positive changes you can make to your child’s diet, contact the experts here at Continuum Pediatrics to find out more by calling us at 817-617-8650 to schedule an appointment with us today.