DOCTOR WARNING: New study links THIS popular sweetener to heart attack and stroke

Study finds sweetener is risky/Shutterstock Images

A study published on Monday in the journal Nature Medicine has linked blood clotting, stroke, heart attack and death to a commonly used artificial sweetener.

A substance called erythritol, a sugar alcohol is a carb found in many fruits and vegetables. It has about 70 per cent of the sweetness of sugar and is zero-calorie, according to experts. It is manufactured in huge quantities and does not raise blood sugar, has no lingering aftertaste and is less of a laxative than sorbitol and xylitol.

“Erythritol looks like sugar, it tastes like sugar, and you can bake with it,” said lead study author, Dr Stanley Hazen, who directs the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Microbiome and Human Health.

People with existing risk factors for heart disease, such as diabetics (who ironically tend to use sugar substitutes) were twice as likely to experience stroke or heart attack if they have high levels of erythritol in their blood.

“The degree of risk was not modest,” Hazen said.

“This certainly sounds an alarm,” said Dr. Andrew Freeman, director of cardiovascular prevention and wellness at National Jewish Health, who was not involved in the research.

“There appears to be a clotting risk from using erythritol,” Freeman said. “Obviously, more research is needed, but in an abundance of caution, it might make sense to limit erythritol in your diet for now.”

The industry association in the US, the Calorie Control Council, told CNN that “The results of this study are contrary to decades of scientific research showing reduced-calorie sweeteners like erythritol are safe, as evidenced by global regulatory permissions for their use in foods and beverages,” said Robert Rankin, executive director, in an email.

“Science needs to take a deeper dive into erythritol and in a hurry, because this substance is widely available right now. If it’s harmful, we should know about it,” National Jewish Health’s Freeman said.

Hazen agreed: “I normally don’t get up on a pedestal and sound the alarm,” he said. “But this is something that I think we need to be looking at carefully.”

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