Do Artificial Sweeteners Cause Heart Attacks and Strokes?

A popular artificial sweetener, erythritol, has been linked to blood clotting, heart attack, stroke, and death, according to a study published February 27 in the journal Nature Medicine. Individuals with elevated factors for heart disease–such as diabetes–were twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke if their blood contained high levels of erythritol in their blood.

Erythritol and other artificial sweeteners like aspartame and saccharin are common replacements for table sugar in low-calorie, low-carbohydrate, and “keto” branded products. “Sugar-free” products like those containing erythritol are often recommended for individuals with diabetes, metabolic syndrome, or obesity and are looking for options to help manage their sugar or calorie intake. 

The product, which can be called a “natural” sweetener because it is made in very small amounts by the human body and in fruits and vegetables, has increased in popularity in recent years. A 2022 report from research firm NielsenIQ found that sales growth for products with erythritol grew by 43 percent over two years and products that claim to have “natural sweeteners” in them grew by 91 percent.

Excerpted from Popular Science

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