Erythritol may Increase Heart Attack and Stroke Risk

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Artificial sweeteners have long been regarded as a healthy alternative source of sugar for people suffering from diabetes or obesity. Its supporters say it aids in blood sugar regulation and weight loss.

Nevertheless, a new Cleveland Clinic study published in Nature Medicine warns that using artificial sweeteners as a sugar substitute may pose long-term dangers. Erythritol is a widely accessible artificial sweetener in India and around the world.

According to the study, long-term use of this artificial sweetener is linked to an elevated risk of heart attack and stroke. It is based on 4,000 people in the United States and Europe, some of whom were already at high risk for cardiovascular disease.

The Cleveland Clinic researchers also looked at how erythritol affected whole blood or isolated platelets, which are cell fragments that cluster together to stop bleeding and contribute to blood clots.

According to a press release, the findings demonstrated that erythritol made platelets simpler to activate and form a clot. “Sweeteners like erythritol have grown in popularity in recent years, but more research into their long-term effects is needed,” said author Stanley Hazen, MD, Ph.D., chairman of the Department of Cardiovascular & Metabolic Sciences at Lerner Research Institute and co-section head of Preventive Cardiology at Cleveland Clinic.

Erythritol is created by fermenting corn and is approximately 70% as sweet as sugar. The body poorly metabolizes Erythritol after consumption. Instead, it enters the bloodstream and exits the body primarily through urine. According to the study, the human body naturally produces minimal levels of erythritol so that any additional ingestion can build.

They note that the study had significant limitations, including that clinical observation studies reveal association and not causation. “Our study indicates that when individuals took an artificially sweetened beverage with an amount of erythritol found in processed foods, dramatically higher levels in the blood were reported for days—levels much above those observed to increase clotting risks,” Dr. Hazen said.

According to Dr. Anoop Misra, head of Fortis C-Doc, the study demonstrates erythritol’s danger of clotting and increased cardiac risk. “We usually counsel patients to use artificial sweeteners in moderation, and following this study, that advice will be revised to no artificial sweeteners,” he said.

According to Dr. Mohit Gupta, a professor of cardiology, research has revealed that those who use sweets gain weight paradoxically, putting them at risk of developing metabolic syndrome. “The hazards are related to the consistency of use, although infrequent or mild intake can also put a person at risk.” It’s worth noting that industry-driven studies and articles were more likely to show weight loss than the genuine ones,” he noted.

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