Artificial Sweetener Used in Stevia, Keto Products May Increase Risk of Heart Attacks, Strokes, Study Warns
Erythritol is a widely used artificial sweetener that is found in Stevia and a number of keto diet products. However, the findings of a new study suggests that it may increase the risk of stroke, blood clots, heart attack, and even death.
People who already face an increased risk of cardiovascular disease or diabetes were more than twice as likely to experience a heart attack or stroke if they ingest high levels of erythritol, according to a report published this week in the medical journal Nature Medicine.
Erythritol is wood sugar alcohol found naturally in many fruits and vegetables, which has become popular in recent years as an artificial sugar substitute. It is about 70% as sweet as sugar, and used as a low-calorie alternative. It’s both used alone and added to Stevia to sweeten products without the adding calories. It is also often found in keto and diabetic products, to reduce caloric and carbohydrate content.
Proponents of the sugar substitute say erythritol has no aftertaste, unlike other artificial sweeteners like aspartame, and does not spike blood sugar. It is also the largest ingredient by weight added to stevia and monk fruit sweetened products.
Erythritol Heart Risks
Researchers with the Cleveland Clinic conducted the study to examine patients’ blood, and determine whether chemicals could affect cardiac function. They followed more than 1,200 patients who used artificial sweeteners from 2004 to 2011, and began finding high levels of erythritol in patients. The human body naturally produces erythritol but not at the levels observed by the research team, which concluded it came from their diet. However, according to their findings, people who consumed the most erythritol faced twice the risk of heart attack and stroke compared to people who consumed the least amount of the sugar substitute.
After conducting additional research on patients from both the United States and Europe, the researchers determined erythritol enhanced blood platelet reactivity, meaning using the sweetener led to an increased risk of blood clots, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
Overall, patients who consumed the most erythritol faced an increased risk of stroke, heart attack and death within three years.
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Even small amounts of erythritol consumption led to significant increases in blood clotting. For people who already face an increased risk of heart disease, heart attack, or stroke, using erythritol could pose a significant health risk, the researchers concluded.
Researchers saw heightened blood levels after participants consumed only 30 grams of erythritol. Common keto or low carb products that use erythritol often use 30 to 45 grams or more.
There is no accepted daily intake considered safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. But erythritol is generally recognized as safe by the FDA.
Researchers warn it may be prudent to limit your intake of erythritol to avoid any potential cardiac risks. However, they called for more studies focusing on the long-term risks as the sugar substitute has become increasingly popular.
SherryMay 3, 2023 at 4:52 pm
I used monkfruit sweetner and suffered six mini strokes, four of them documented
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