Pregnancy is a time when expectant mothers are hyper-aware of what goes into their bodies. While protecting your own health is always important, the responsibility of growing another being makes it even more important to make smart dietary choices.
When it comes to pregnancy and nutrition, there’s a long list of things you should and shouldn’t do, and that decision is a personal one for every mother. As expectant mothers navigate the maze of dietary choices, one question that often arises is whether non-nutritive sweeteners, like stevia, are safe during this crucial time.
So, what’s the deal with consuming stevia during pregnancy? Is stevia safe during pregnancy, or is there a chance it could cause problems for you or your unborn baby?
This article is all about stevia and pregnancy. We’ll answer questions about the safety of stevia in pregnancy, and teach you everything you need to know to keep you and your growing baby safe and healthy during this critical period.
Is Stevia Safe During Pregnancy
So, is stevia safe during pregnancy? Before we answer that question, let’s look at some of the concerns that have been raised surrounding stevia and pregnancy.
What are the Concerns of Having Stevia While Pregnant?
Concerns related to consuming stevia during pregnancy primarily revolve around its potential effects on fetal development and maternal health. Some people worry about its long-term safety, the possibility of allergic reactions, and its impact on the developing baby.
There have been many concerns about the safety of stevia over the years, which led to a temporary ban on Stevia by the FDA in the 1990s. Why was stevia banned? Research has suggested that stevia could be damaging to reproductive health and blood pressure.
At the same time, there are concerns about stevia and weight gain. Despite being marketed as a healthy, low-sugar alternative, stevia and other artificial sweeteners have actually been linked with an increase in BMI and waist circumference.
Is Stevia FDA Approved for Pregnancy?
While the FDA no longer has an outright ban on stevia, its use in the United States is still restricted, with certain forms of stevia, including whole leaves, being banned. Steviol glycosides, the compounds found in stevia, are approved for use as a sweetener.
However, the FDA's approval does not specifically address pregnancy. This likely means that there’s not enough research to assess whether stevia is safe during pregnancy, or whether there could be certain risks associated with consuming stevia during pregnancy.
Does Stevia Have Side Effects During Pregnancy?
Some people may experience intolerance to artificial sweeteners symptoms if consuming stevia while pregnant. Generally, these symptoms include headaches, nausea, and mood swings. Other gastrointestinal symptoms may include gas, bloating, diarrhea, and stomach cramps.
Stevia can also act as a diuretic for the kidneys. If you consume too much stevia, you could experience dehydration or lowered blood pressure. How much stevia is too much? Even small amounts of stevia could be enough to cause these types of effects during pregnancy.
Also, many people complain about the bitter, distinctive stevia taste. Why does stevia taste so bad? Stevia’s bitter, metallic, licorice-like aftertaste is due to the interaction between stevia compounds and taste receptors on the tongue. During pregnancy, it may taste even less pleasant.
Are There Any Stevia Benefits While Pregnant?
While it used to be believed that stevia doesn’t have any impact on blood sugar levels, that thinking is now being challenged with new research.
Previously, stevia was considered beneficial during pregnancy because it could be a good alternative to sugar for those at risk of developing gestational diabetes. However, now that we know this isn’t the case, there don’t appear to be any benefits to consuming stevia during pregnancy.
So, Can I Have Stevia While Pregnant?
Can I have stevia while pregnant? Ultimately, it’s your decision. However, given that there aren’t any real benefits of stevia while pregnant, and the FDA doesn’t include guidance on stevia during pregnancy, it might be best to avoid this sweetener in the presence of better options.
Just like any dietary decision you make while you’re expecting, discussing stevia and pregnancy with your healthcare provider is a good idea, especially if you have any concerns or pre-existing medical conditions.
What Other Sweeteners Should Be Avoided During Pregnancy?
Stevia during pregnancy isn’t the only sweetener you should be conscious of. There are other sweeteners that should be used with caution or avoided altogether due to potential risks or lack of safety data. Here are some sweeteners to be mindful of during pregnancy.
Aspartame is a commonly used artificial sweetener found in various sugar-free and "diet" products. Many pregnant women choose low-calorie drinks without aspartame due to the potential side effects of this sweetener.
While extensive research has not demonstrated significant risks associated with aspartame consumption during pregnancy, it can cause headaches and gastrointestinal issues, and has even been linked with certain types of cancer.
Does aspartame cause inflammation? Yes - this artificial sweetener has also been known to cause inflammation, which can be particularly harmful during pregnancy.
When it comes to sucralose vs stevia during pregnancy, it’s a good idea to avoid both of these sweeteners. Sucralose is an artificial sweetener commonly found in products like Splenda.
Although sucralose is generally regarded as safe when used within recommended levels, it can alter gut health, may kill probiotics, can influence blood sugar levels, and may play a role in the development of certain cancers.
Is sucralose keto? Sucralose is not really considered keto, as it can influence blood sugar levels. Therefore, this sweetener may not be suitable for expectant mothers who are at risk of developing gestational diabetes.
Sugar Alcohols (e.g., Xylitol, Erythritol, Sorbitol)
Sugar alcohols are commonly used as sugar substitutes in sugar-free gum, candies, and some diet foods. Excessive consumption can lead to gastrointestinal discomfort, including gas, bloating, and diarrhea.
Opting for food and drinks without erythritol, as well as avoiding stevia when pregnant, is a good idea to prevent these unwanted side effects.
Tips for Expecting Mothers Concerns About the Safety of Stevia While Pregnant
If you’re concerned about stevia and pregnancy, you’re not alone! Many expecting mothers choose to avoid sweeteners like stevia when pregnant, and instead opt for healthier, natural alternatives. At Oobli, that’s exactly what we’re here for!
Our Safe and Natural Alternatives to Stevia During Pregnancy
Rather than risking your and your baby’s health by consuming stevia when pregnant, we’ve got a much safer, healthier option: sweet proteins! Sweet proteins are compounds naturally found in certain tropical fruits. In some cases, they’re up to 5,000 times sweeter than regular sugar.
Because sweet proteins are so powerfully sweet, only a tiny amount is needed to sweeten your favorite foods. This means that you can enjoy a sweet treat without the calories that come with sugar, or the side effects that come with artificial sweeteners.
Another of the benefits of sweet protein is that they don’t come with the distinctive aftertaste that so many artificial sweeteners are known for. Sweet proteins as a sugar substitute are instead naturally delicious, with no need for artificial flavors to mask the sweetener taste.
So, how are sweet proteins made, exactly? At Oobli, we use a special fermentation process to grow our sweet proteins, in much the same way that cheese, wine, and beer are made.
If you’re looking to avoid stevia when pregnant, give Oobli a try! Take a sip of our refreshing low sugar tea. It’s sweet, natural, contains real fruit, and only comes with 7 grams of sugar in each 16 oz can! Crafted with clean and guilt-free ingredients, you can taste the love in every can!
As well as the best low-sugar drinks, we also have decadently irresistible chocolate bars! With several flavors to choose from, these low-sugar, high-fiber treats will be your new favorite guilt-free indulgence. They’re vegan, keto-friendly, and don’t contain any weird ingredients.
How to Make the Switch From Stevia While Pregnant
If you’ve been thinking about stevia and pregnancy, and have decided to avoid stevia in pregnancy, here are some tips for helping you switch to something more natural, like Oobli’s sweet proteins.
Firstly, if you've been using stevia regularly, consider reducing your intake gradually rather than quitting abruptly. This can help your taste buds adjust to different sweetness levels and might reduce your chances of developing headaches or other stevia withdrawal symptoms.
When purchasing packaged foods, carefully read ingredient labels to identify products that contain stevia and other harmful sweeteners. Look for items with minimal additives or preservatives— fewer ingredients are almost always better.
Before making significant changes to your diet, especially during pregnancy, consult with your healthcare provider. They can provide personalized guidance based on your health status and dietary needs, especially if you have gestational diabetes or other pregnancy-related conditions.
Parting Thoughts on Stevia and Pregnancy
When it comes to stevia and pregnancy, there’s a lot to think about. Can I have stevia while pregnant? The FDA doesn’t provide specific guidance one way or the other regarding stevia and pregnancy. Just like your other dietary decisions, your choice on stevia and pregnancy is personal.
Many expecting mothers choose to say no to stevia in pregnancy to avoid any health risks that stevia may pose to themselves or their growing baby. If you are looking to avoid sweeteners like stevia in pregnancy, we have some great alternatives for you at Oobli!
With natural, potent sweet proteins, we’ve been able to re-create safe, healthy, and delicious versions of your favorite treats. From our sweet iced teas to our rich dark chocolate bars, you’ll love these revolutionary new takes on old classics.
Don’t risk your health during pregnancy. Protect you and your growing baby by switching to Oobli. Shop our treats today!