Patterns and Predictors of Low-Calorie Sweetener Consumption during Pregnancy: Findings from a National Survey

Bereket Gebremichael, Zohra S. Lassi, Mumtaz Begum, Murthy Mittinty, Shao Jia Zhou

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Abstract

Recently, the World Health Organization recommended avoiding low-calorie sweeteners (LCS) during pregnancy due to concerns that it may be linked to adverse pregnancy outcomes and offspring wellbeing. This study examined the patterns and predictors of LCS consumption among pregnant women in Australia. A survey was conducted among 422 pregnant women aged 18–50 years. Sociodemographic, lifestyle, dietary intake including LCS consumption, pregnancy-related characteristics, and awareness about the health effects of LCS were assessed. We used latent class analysis and multinomial logistic regression to identify LCS consumption patterns and predictors of consumption patterns, respectively. The mean (SD) age of the women was 30 (4.6) years. Three LCS consumption patterns were identified: infrequent or non-consumers representing 50% of the women, moderate consumers encompassing 40% of the women, and the remaining were habitual consumers. Over two-thirds (71%) of women were not aware of the potential adverse effects of LCS, and only a quarter of them were concerned about the possible adverse effects on their health and their offspring. Increasing age and living with a medical condition decreased the likelihood of moderate consumption by 7% and 55%, respectively. Frequent sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and gestational diabetes predicted habitual LCS consumption. This research suggested widespread LCS consumption among pregnant women in Australia, but lower awareness of its potential adverse health effects. Interventions to increase awareness of potential adverse effects are warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4196
Number of pages16
JournalNutrients
Volume15
Issue number19
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2023

Keywords

  • artificial sweetener
  • Australia
  • consumption pattern
  • latent class analysis
  • non-nutritive sweetener
  • pregnancy

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