An anonymous reader quotes a report from CBS News: Erythritol, a zero-calorie sugar substitute used to sweeten low-cal, low-carb and “keto” products, is linked to higher risk of heart attack, stroke and death, according to a new study. Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic studied over 4,000 people in the U.S. and Europe and found those with higher blood erythritol levels were at elevated risk of experiencing these major adverse cardiac events. The research, published Monday in the journal Nature Medicine, also found erythritol made blood platelets easier to form a clot.
“Our study shows that when participants consumed an artificially sweetened beverage with an amount of erythritol found in many processed foods, markedly elevated levels in the blood are observed for days — levels well above those observed to enhance clotting risks,” said Dr. Stanley Hazen, senior author of the study and chairman for the department of cardiovascular and metabolic sciences at Cleveland Clinic, in a press release.
While the study doesn’t definitively show causation, CBS News medical contributor Dr. David Agus says there’s “certainly enough data to make you very worried.” “Most artificial sweeteners bind to your sweet receptors but aren’t absorbed. Erythritol is absorbed and has significant effects, as we see in the study,” Agus explains. Sweeteners like erythritol have “rapidly increased in popularity in recent years,” Hazen noted, and the researchers say more in-depth study is needed to understand their long-term health effects. “Cardiovascular disease builds over time, and heart disease is the leading cause of death globally. We need to make sure the foods we eat aren’t hidden contributors,” he said. “In the study, researchers looked at the levels of erythritol in the blood of around 4,000 people from the United States and Europe and found that those with the highest blood concentration of the sugar substitute were more likely to have a stroke or heart attack,” adds the New York Times in their reporting. “The participants, who mostly were over the age of 60, either already had or were at high risk for cardiovascular diseases because of conditions like diabetes and hypertension.”
“The researchers also found that when they fed mice erythritol, that promoted blood clot formation. Erythritol appeared to induce clotting in human blood and plasma as well. Among eight people who consumed erythritol at levels typical in a pint of keto ice cream or a can of an artificially sweetened beverage, the sugar alcohol lingered in their blood for longer than two days.”
Dr. Hazen said: “Every way we looked at it, it kept showing the same signal.”
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Source: Slashdot – Artificial Sweetener Erythritol Linked To Heart Attack and Stroke, Study Finds