Study finds link between drinking some diet soda during pregnancy and autism in boys

Austin (Kusan) – A team of researchers found a link between a boy’s autism diagnosis and his mother drinking at least one diet soda every day or consuming the same amount of the sweetener aspartame during pregnancy or breastfeeding. He said he observed a relationship. new research.

In the study, researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio asked parents of 235 children with autism spectrum disorder and 121 non-autistic children to drink diet soda. and asked them to complete a retrospective questionnaire about autism. Taking aspartame during pregnancy or while breastfeeding a child.

Researchers asked biological mothers, “How often did you drink diet drinks containing artificial sweeteners while you were pregnant or breastfeeding your child?” Count diet sodas like Diet Coke, Diet Dr Pepper, and Diet Sprite first, then other diet drinks like Crystal Light, unsweetened Kool-Aid, SlimFast, and other “light” drinks. ”

Please note that not all diet drinks contain aspartame. The researchers didn’t just ask the women to think about aspartame-containing diet drinks they consumed while pregnant or breastfeeding. However, all of the beverages sampled in the study contain aspartame.

Boys with autism are more than three times more likely than boys without autism to have their mothers drink diet soda daily while pregnant or breastfeeding, according to a study published in the peer-reviewed journal Nutrients. The research team discovered.

Researchers found no statistically significant association with girls.

“While these associations do not prove causation, early research indicates increased prematurity and cardiometabolic health effects among infants and children exposed to diet drinks on a daily basis. This was considered in conjunction with the report of [or] “Our findings raise new questions about the potential neurological effects that need to be addressed if aspartame is taken during pregnancy,” said the study’s authors, UT Health San Antonio Raymond F. Palmer, professor of family and community medicine at the university. said in a news release.

The study authors wrote that further studies, including efforts with larger sample sizes, should be conducted to continue investigating the association between aspartame and developing autism.

Still, the researchers concluded that mothers may need to be careful when drinking diet soda or consuming products containing significant amounts of aspartame while pregnant or breastfeeding. There is.

These findings follow in June Announcement from the World Health Organization When they deemed aspartame to be a “possible” cause of cancer. Still, WHO officials said they were not telling consumers to completely eliminate sugar substitutes, but rather to use the products in moderation.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which approved some forms of aspartame in 1974 in response to the WHO’s announcement, has concluded that the substance is “possibly carcinogenic” and that it has not been linked to cancer. clarified that it does not mean that there is.

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