Although some attest to the safety of artificial sweeteners like aspartame, these sweeteners have actually been shown to cause considerable harm to health.
The study looking at the relationship between soft drink consumption and pregnancy outcome found that preterm delivery risk is upped 38 percent for pregnant women having 1 or more servings of artificially sweetened drinks a day. What's more, consuming 4 or more servings daily was associated with an increased risk of 78 percent.
"There was an association between intake of artificially sweetened carbonated and noncarbonated soft drinks and an increased risk of preterm delivery...A stronger increase in risk was observed for early preterm and moderately preterm delivery than with late-preterm delivery. No association was observed for sugar-sweetened carbonated soft drinks (P for trend: 0.29) or for sugar-sweetened noncarbonated soft drinks (P for trend: 0.93)," the study states.While the study pinpoints artificially sweetened beverages for increasing preterm delivery risk, there is other research that suggests sugar-sweetened drinks also play a role. Other studies have found that both drink types increase risk for hypertension - a known risk factor for preterm delivery. In addition, there is evidence suggesting that both drink types could affect the length of gestation since high blood glucose concentrations and low-dose methanol exposure both cause shorter gestation duration.
The leading cause of perinatal morbidity and mortality, preterm delivery is actually among the major pregnancy complications which could occur. It was also found that preterm infants suffer from impairment in the long-term, and experience inequality in adult life. These reasons alone make it extremely important for mothers to avoid substances that may trigger premature delivery.
More research was also conducted with a focus on methanol, the primary alcoholic component used in the production of aspartame, to examine potential negative health effects. A retired food scientist and Professor Emeritus of Food Science and Nutrition at the Arizona State University Dr. Woodrow Monte describes how the toxic chemical methanol and it's use in the production of aspartame and other chemicals could be a main factor in causing spina bifida, preterm delivery, multiple sclerosis, cancer, and more recently, autism in young children. It is also the primary factor in other developing chronic diseases and health conditions.
Needless to say, artificial sweeteners have been shown to be far from safe, and should be avoided if you're aiming for optimal health.