i think it's because just because there isn't scientific evidence that shows a link with birth defects, does not mean that there is no link- i doubt any scientific study at this point would be willing to say 100% that artificial sweeteners are safe, especially given that they haven't been around that long. the way i see it is this- it's like with medications. many medications are considered safe, although you will not find any med rated A for pregnant people. in these situations it boils down to risk vs. benefit. for most of us, what's the medical benefit of using artificial sweetners? is it worth the slightest risk?
In equal and sweet n low along with many diet pops there is an ingredient called aspartame. It is also found in rat poison. When consumed in large quanities, it obviously is NOT good for anyone. I personally just use Splenda (I'm a huge iced tea drinker...obvously have had to cut back quite a bit since getting pregnant). It's a straight dirivitive of pure sugar so it's natural and not harmful.
rat/mouse poison also contains something called coumadin which is routinely used to thin blood in heart disease patients!!! My grandpa took it for YEARS and YEARS!!! But I agree that you should limit this in pregnancy as well as anything else that isn't natural but you can't believe everything you read. Aspartame breaks down into two naturally occurring amino acids which are essential for life as well as methanol. It is the level of methanol and further breakdown products that cause the controversy. But FYI our body also produces methanol by itself, we just don't know how much extra is "good". One other thing to note is that lab tests on rats and mice generally use WAY more than the amount a normal human would ever consume in a day. Therefore it is hard to extrapolate the results to humans. ANyways, I am neither for nor against aspartame, just wanted to give out some info.
" I personally just use Splenda (I'm a huge iced tea drinker...obvously have had to cut back quite a bit since getting pregnant). It's a straight dirivitive of pure sugar so it's natural and not harmful."
Splenda is, indeed, a derivative of sucrose however, it is by no means "natural" since it is only available from extensive chlorination of sucrose. I believe there is much controversy over use of the term "natural" in this context and a lawsuit is being considered by the makers of Equal. Also, even though a compound may be a derivative of a naturally occuring material that does not mean it is not harmful. For instance, perchlorination of methane gas (from cows!) affords carbon tetrachloride which is a a highly toxic, environmentally unfriendly, and regulated carcinogen.
Although many organohalide derivatives are known to toxic this has not been shown to be the case with Spenda, presumably because it does not readily dechlorinate.