Consumption of artificially-sweetened soft drinks in pregnancy and risk of child asthma and allergic rhinitis.PLoS One 2013; 8(2):e57261Plos
Past evidence has suggested a role of artificial sweeteners in allergic disease; yet, the evidence has been inconsistent and unclear.
To examine relation of intake of artificially-sweetened beverages during pregnancy with child asthma and allergic rhinitis at 18 months and 7 years.
We analyzed data from 60,466 women enrolled during pregnancy in the prospective longitudinal Danish National Birth Cohort between 1996 and 2003. At the 25th week of gestation we administered a validated Food Frequency Questionnaire which asked in detail about intake of artificially-sweetened soft drinks. At 18 months, we evaluated child asthma using interview data. We also assessed asthma and allergic rhinitis through a questionnaire at age 7 and by using national registries. Current asthma was defined as self-reported asthma diagnosis and wheeze in the past 12 months. We examined the relation between intake of artificially-sweetened soft drinks and child allergic disease outcomes and present here odds ratios with 95% CI comparing daily vs. no intake.
At 18 months, we found that mothers who consumed more artificially-sweetened non-carbonated soft drinks were 1.23 (95% CI: 1.13, 1.33) times more likely to report a child asthma diagnosis compared to non-consumers. Similar results were found for child wheeze. Consumers of artificially-sweetened carbonated drinks were more likely to have a child asthma diagnosis in the patient (1.30, 95% CI: 1.01, 1.66) and medication (1.13, 95% CI: 0.98, 1.29) registry, as well as self-reported allergic rhinitis (1.31, 95% CI: 0.98, 1.74) during the first 7 years of follow-up. We found no associations for sugar-sweetened soft drinks.
Carbonated artificially-sweetened soft drinks were associated with registry-based asthma and self-reported allergic rhinitis, while early childhood outcomes were related to non-carbonated soft drinks. These results suggest that consumption of artificially-sweetened soft drinks during pregnancy may play a role in offspring allergic disease development.