Sugar substitutes

Artificial sweeteners during pregnancy

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Not all artificial sweeteners are safe in pregnancy. So before you reach for that little pink or blue packet next to the sugar, make a point of becoming label and brand savvy. Use the table below to guide your choice.

Artificial sweeteners are hundreds of times sweeter than natural sugar, so only tiny amounts can create the same sweet taste. Some, such as sucralose and aspartame, are used in diet pop, chewing gum, jam and other diet or low-calorie products. Most are available as “table-top” sweeteners, in the form of powder, drops or tablets. The granulated sweeteners have added fillers to make them appear similar to sugar.

A cautionary note: Do not be tempted to go all out with artificially sweetened products like diet pop. First, these should not replace nutritious foods and drinks that your growing baby needs. Second, you may become used to a very sweet taste, which can translate into unhealthy eating habits.

Tips You can use a little sucralose or aspartame to sweeten healthy foods such as:

• porridge made from whole grain
• plain yogurt with fruit
• lemonade made from squeezed lemons and water

Only sucralose can be used in baking. See the Splenda website for recipes.

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