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Not-So-Sweet News: Popular Sugar Substitute Linked to Heart Attack and Stroke

A sugar replacement called erythritol – used to add bulk or sweeten stevia, monkfruit and keto reduced-sugar products – is now linked to blood clotting, stroke, heart attack and death, according to a new study.

Dr. Stanley Hazen, the study’s author, says “The degree of risk was not modest.”

The study found that 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 high levels of erythritol in their blood.

About The Sugar Substitute

Like sorbitol and xylitol, erythritol is a sugar alcohol, a carb found naturally in many fruits and vegetables. It has about 70% of the sweetness of sugar and is considered zero-calorie. It’s a very popular additive to keto and other low-carb products and foods marketed to people with diabetes. Many diabetes-labeled foods have extremely high levels of the sugar substitute.

Erythritol is also the largest ingredient by weight in many “natural” stevia and monkfruit products. Stevia and monkfruit are about 200 to 400 times sweeter than sugar. The bulk of the product is erythritol, which adds the sugar-like crystalline appearance and texture consumers expect.

The paper reveals that erythritol appears to be causing blood platelets to clot more readily. Clots can break off and travel to the heart or to the brain. This can trigger a heart attack or a stroke.

Is Erythritol Safe?

The Calorie Control Council, an industry association, responded to the findings:

“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. The results should not be extrapolated to the general population, as the participants in the intervention were already at increased risk for cardiovascular events.”

Researchers agree more work needs to be done to draw a definitive conclusion about the risks of erythritol. Still, it makes sense to limit erythritol in your diet for now.

It also makes sense to be prepared. Whether or not erythritol is part of your diet, we all have a risk of having a health issue, whether it be a heart attack, a stroke, or even cancer. A Cancer/Heart/Stroke policy from your association and ASBA is a smart investment. This plan pays money directly to you in one lump sum payment upon diagnosis of internal cancer or malignant melanoma, heart attack, or stroke. Use the money to cover the costs of hospital care, travel, out-of-pocket expenses, or however you want. To learn more call ASBA at 866-615-4063 or click to request a free Benefits Review.

Source: https://www.cnn.com/2023/02/27/health/zero-calorie-sweetener-heart-attack-stroke-wellness/index.html