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Low-calorie sweeteners and the risk of preterm delivery: results from two studies and a meta-analysis
  1. Carlo La Vecchia
  1. Head, Department of Epidemiology, Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri, Milan and Professor, Department of Clinical Sciences and Public Health, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milan, Italy
  1. Correspondence to Professor Carlo La Vecchia, Department of Epidemiology, Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri, Via Giuseppe La Masa,Milan 19-20156, Italy; carlo.lavecchia{at}

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The possible relation between low-calorie sweeteners (as well as sugar-sweetened beverages) and unfavourable pregnancy outcomes, in particular preterm delivery and low birth weight, has recently become of considerable interest, given the widespread use of low-calorie sweeteners, and the high frequency of preterm deliveries in high-income countries.

Norwegian cohort data

In a study from Norway, Englund-Ogge et al.1 considered the possible relation between low-calorie-sweetened and sugar-sweetened beverages and preterm delivery using data from 60 761 women in the Norwegian Mother and Child Study cohort. Overall, 3281 preterm deliveries (<37 weeks) were observed, corresponding to 5.4% of all deliveries. Of these, 3.9% were late preterm deliveries (34 to <37 weeks), 0.8% moderately preterm deliveries (32 to <34 weeks) and 0.7% early preterm (<32 weeks) deliveries.

There was a moderate association between frequency of use of sugar-sweetened beverages during pregnancy and the risk of preterm deliveries. As compared to women who did not drink sugar-sweetened beverages, the relative risk (RR) was 1.15 for <1 serving/week, 1.15 for 1–6 servings/week, 1.25 for 1 serving/day, 1.19 for 2–3 servings/day and 1.41 for ≥4 servings/day. Allowance was made for age, education, obstetric history and tobacco but not for alcohol. Women …

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  • Funding None.

  • Competing interests The author has received in the past unconditional grant support from the International Sweeteners Association, Brussels, Belgium for addressing the issue of sweeteners and cancer risk.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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