Zero-calorie Sweetener Linked to Heart Attack and Stroke, Study Finds
Washington, A sugar replacement called erythritol, used to add bulk or sweeten stevia, monkfruit and keto reduced-sugar products, has been linked to blood clotting, stroke, heart attack and death, according to a new study.
“The degree of risk was not modest,” said lead study author Dr. Stanley Hazen, director of the Center for Cardiovascular Diagnostics and Prevention at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute.
People with existing risk factors for heart disease, such as diabetes, were twice as likely to experience a heart attack or stroke if they had the highest levels of erythritol in their blood, according to the study, published in the journal Nature Medicine.
“If your blood level of erythritol was in the top 25% compared to the bottom 25%, there was about a two-fold higher risk for heart attack and stroke. It’s on par with the strongest of cardiac risk factors, like diabetes,” Hazen said.
Additional lab and animal research presented in the paper revealed that erythritol appeared to be causing blood platelets to clot more readily. Clots can break off and travel to the heart, triggering a heart attack, or to the brain, triggering a stroke.
To confirm the findings, Hazen’s team tested another batch of blood samples from over 2,100 people in the United States and an additional 833 samples gathered by colleagues in Europe through 2018. About three-quarters of the participants in all three populations had coronary disease or high blood pressure, and about a fifth had diabetes, Hazen said. Over half were male and in their 60s and 70s.
In all three populations, researchers found that higher levels of erythritol were connected to a greater risk of heart attack, stroke or death within three years.
But why? To find out, researchers did further animal and lab tests and discovered that erythritol was “provoking enhanced thrombosis,” or clotting in the blood, Hazen said.
Clotting is necessary in the human body, or we would bleed to death from cuts and injuries. The same process is constantly happening internally, as well.
Source: Oman News Agency