14/08/2012 1 min

High-intensity sweeteners and pregnancy: ANSES identifies a new study14 August 2012

Following an initial Opinion published in March 2011 based on two studies of the health effects of high-intensity sweeteners, ANSES made an internal request for assessment of the nutritional risks and benefits of these additives. The assessment is currently under way, and a preliminary progress report was published in June 2012 dealing specifically with the effects of consumption of these sweeteners by pregnant women. Due to an insufficient number of studies on pregnant women, this work did not allow conclusions to be made regarding potential risk to this group. As for the possible benefits, no nutritional advantage to consuming high-intensity sweeteners during pregnancy was demonstrated.

ANSES considered that new research was needed, especially since one study (Halldorsson, 2010) reported an association between consumption of artificially-sweetened beverages and the risk of induced premature birth. In keeping with its mission of continuous surveillance, ANSES has just identified a new epidemiological study in this area which will soon be published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

This new prospective study, involving 60 000 pregnant women from a Norwegian cohort, monitors their consumption of artificially-sweetened and sugar-sweetened beverages, as well as the frequency of premature births.

The authors (Englund-Ogge et al. 2012) indicate that their study suggests a statistical association between a higher risk of prematurity and the daily consumption of both artificially- and sugar-sweetened of beverages, without establishing any causal link.

This new study will be examined by ANSES's "Benefits and risks of high-intensity sweeteners" working group.