Soft drinks and preterm delivery.
Article Type: Report
Subject: Premature birth (Risk factors)
Carbonated beverages (Health aspects)
Sugar substitutes (Health aspects)
Author: Murphy, Kathleen
Pub Date: 03/22/2011
Publication: Name: Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism Publisher: National Herbalists Association of Australia Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 National Herbalists Association of Australia ISSN: 1033-8330
Issue: Date: Spring, 2011 Source Volume: 23 Source Issue: 1
Product: Product Code: 2086000 Canned & Bottled Soft Drinks NAICS Code: 312111 Soft Drink Manufacturing SIC Code: 2086 Bottled and canned soft drinks; 2869 Industrial organic chemicals, not elsewhere classified
Geographic: Geographic Scope: Australia Geographic Code: 8AUST Australia
Accession Number: 254971783
Full Text: Halldorsson T, Strom M, Petersen S et al. 2010. Intake of artificially sweetened soft drinks and risk of preterm delivery. American J Clin Nutr 92;626-33.

Sugar sweetened soft drinks are increasingly prevalent in the modern diet and are implicated in the obesity epidemic due to their high content of readily absorbed sugars. Subsequently artificially sweetened soft drinks (with aspartame, acesulfame-K or saccharine) have often been promoted as a safe alternative.

Preterm delivery (<37 wk) is a major pregnancy complication and a leading cause of perinatal morbidity and mortality. There is indirect evidence to suggest that sugar sweetened and artificially sweetened soft drinks might affect the term delivery because both high blood glucose concentrations and low dose methanol exposure have been linked to a shorter duration of gestation.

This study examined the correlation between artificially sweetened beverages and preterm delivery. It was based on data from the Danish National Birth Cohort which recruited 91 827 pregnant women from Denmark.

Dietary information was collected at approximately 25 week gestation through a detailed food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) that covered intakes during the previous four weeks gestation. Individual food items were quantified into grams per day by using assumptions on standard portion sizes; intakes of total energy and individual nutrients were quantified by using food composition tables.

The four beverage items used for analyses were carbonated soft drinks/cola (sugar sweetened), carbonated soft drinks/cola (sugar free light), noncarbonated soft drinks (sugar sweetened) and noncarbonated soft drinks (sugarfree light). In the context of soft drinks it was understood that the words sugar free and light referred to products that contained artificial sweeteners.

The researchers also identified and included as covariates a set of 7 non dietary factors that are well recognised determinants of preterm delivery: maternal age, height, prepregnancy BMI, cohabitant status, parity, smoking during pregnancy and familial sociooccupational status.

Preterm delivery (<37 wk) was the primary outcome measure whereas late preterm (>34 wk <37), moderately preterm (>32 wk <34) and early preterm delivery (<32 wk) were used as secondary outcomes. The mean age and pre pregnancy BMI in the study population was 29 yr old and 23.5 yr respectively. Only 1.9% of the women were single. The number of women who reported smoking daily during pregnancy was 12.5%.

Overall the intake of artificially sweetened soft drinks was strongly associated with an increased risk of preterm delivery (P = 0.0001). Women who consumed artificially sweetened carbonated soft drinks >1 time/day had an adjusted odds ratio of 1.38 (95% CI: 1.15, 1.65) for having preterm delivery compared with women with no intake of artificially sweetened carbonated soft drinks. No association was observed for sugar sweetened soft drinks. It is difficult to make inferences on which sweeteners might be at fault because most artificially sweetened soft drinks include mixtures of different sweeteners.

The researchers concluded that the regular intake of artificially sweetened soft drinks may be associated with an increased risk of preterm delivery and warrants further attention.

Kathleen Murphy mnhaa
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