I have a question about the use of Stevia leaf during pregnancy. I have been told it is safe to use because it is a natural sweetener with no calories and does not affect blood sugar levels. Is this true?
Stevia is an herb. This new and common sweetner is frequently used in soft drinks and juices. The FDA deems Stevia as safe during pregnancy; it has been give the GRAS (generally recognized as safe) rating by the FDA.
The American Dietetic Association (ADA) recognizes that the recommendation for use of artificial sweeteners during pregnancy must be based on well-designed and approved clinical studies to ensure a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. During pregnancy, the ADA says that use of aspartame (i.e., Nutrasweet, Equal) and acesulfame-K (i.e., Sunett) within FDA guidelines appear safe for pregnant women when consumed in moderation and within the context of a diet consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. However, pregnant women should avoid the use of saccharin. According to the ADA, saccharin can cross the placenta and may remain in fetal tissues due to slow fetal clearance. The FDA has currently approved saccharin on an interim basis pending further studies.
Hope that helps you out!
-- Kimberly, RD LD
Kimberly A. Tessmer, RD LD has been a registered dietitian since 1992 and is also an Ohio licensed Dietitian. Her educational achievements include a Bachelor of Science in Technology (Dietetics) from Bowling State University in Bowling Green, OH. She currently owns and operates a consulting business called "Nutrition Focus" www.nutrifocus.net, in which she specializes and offers services in the areas of weight management, general nutrition, authoring, menu development and a variety of other services.
To date Kim has authored three books including "The Everything® Nutrition Book", "Tell Me What To Eat If I Have Celiac Disease", and "The Everything® Pregnancy Nutrition Book". In addition, Kim has written numerous articles for various health/nutrition web sites and magazines including Bally Total Fitness Magazine, Well and Healthy Women Magazine and Healthology.com, Inc as well as continuing education courses for www.care2learn.com. She is a member of the American Dietetic Association and the ADA Practice Group, Nutrition Entrepreneurs.