(RepublicanDaily.org) – Expecting mothers are usually warned about the dangers of smoking or drinking alcohol during pregnancy, but here’s one thing they may not be on the lookout for: drinking diet soda.
A new study from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio) has revealed a link between diet soda, as well as other products that contain the sugar substitute aspartame, and autism in boys.
According to the study, mothers of boys who were found to be within the autism spectrum were three times as likely to have consumed at least one diet soda, or the equivalent of five packets of aspartame, every day.
The lead author of the study, Sharon Parten Fowler, who is one of UT Health San Antonio’s adjust assistant professors of medicine, told Fox News that while the study does not conclusively prove causality, it does “raise a major warning flag” for expectant mothers.
The study examined the mothers of more than 200 children who have been diagnosed with autism, as well mothers of more than 100 children with “typical neurological development.”
The study showed that only autism in boys appeared to be linked to aspartame ingested by their mothers when they were still in utero or during breastfeeding. “No statistically significant association was found in female offspring,” the results of the study also said.
Researchers also clarified that the study was done with respondents who were only basing their aspartame consumption years after their pregnancy and breastfeeding; ideally, a more accurate study could be done during and after the mother’s pregnancy, delivery, and nursing stages.
Aspartame has been a subject of some controversy in the health world over the years. While initially developed as a response to studies that showed that natural sugars and other more traditional sweeteners have a strong link to obesity, aspartame may come with its own set of health risks. Only in July, the World Health Organization pegged the substance as a possible cause of cancer, but said that it was still safe to consume.
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