Study links artificial sweetener erythritol to heart attack and stroke
(WXYZ) – In today’s Health Alert, a new study suggests that the artificial sweetener erythritol may increase the risk of blood clots, stroke and heart attacks.
Many people believe that artificial sweeteners are better than sugar, but this study linked erythritol to some serious health risks.
When people see the words “sugar free” or “less sugar” on food packaging, many automatically think it’s a better choice. Even the researchers at the Cleveland Clinic who conducted the study were surprised by their findings. They were looking for compounds in the blood that could help predict a person’s risk of an adverse cardiovascular event. At that time erythritol was discovered as the leading candidate.
Researchers studied over 4,000 people in the US and Europe for three years. And they found that those with higher levels of erythritol in their blood were at a higher risk of experiencing a stroke, heart attack, blood clot and even cardiovascular death. The study observed high levels of erythritol in the participants’ blood that lasted for several days after a drink was consumed with this artificial sweetener. And these levels increase the risks of clotting.
In my opinion, this is worrying. Erythritol is found in a ton of reduced-sugar products, especially keto-friendly food products. It has definitely grown in popularity. It is also sold for weight loss because it has zero calories. And it can be recommended to people who are obese, have diabetes or have metabolic syndrome. And unfortunately, these people are already at a much higher risk for heart attacks and strokes.
First, let me say that this study does not prove that erythritol causes heart attacks and strokes. More research is definitely needed. Right now, the FDA has erythritol labeled as “Generally Recognized as Safe.” Having said that, I would err on the side of caution. Because after you eat or drink products with erythritol, it enters the bloodstream and leaves the body mainly through urine. However, additional consumption can accumulate.
Now how can you avoid or reduce artificial sweeteners? Well, start with processed foods. There you will find artificial sweeteners, especially erythritol. Also, reduce your consumption of sugary drinks like pop, fruit drinks and sweat tea. You can sweeten your food and drinks with natural sugars like raw honey, agave nectar, and maple syrup. But be aware that they may contain high fructose corn syrup, which has been linked to serious health problems, including diabetes and heart disease. I personally recommend eating healthy, nutrient-dense foods and drinking water with fresh or frozen fruit as it will naturally sweeten the drink. You can also talk to your family doctor or a dietitian to learn more about healthier options.