Bad news for fans of zero-calories snacks and desserts: a new study compares a popular sweetener to diabetes as a risk factor for blood clotting, stroke, heart attack, and death.
Those with existing risk factors for heart diseases, like diabetes sufferers, were twice as likely to suffer a heart attack or a stroke if they had high levels of erythritol in their blood.
According to lead study author Dr. Stanley Hazen, director of the Center for Cardiovascular Diagnostics and Prevention at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute, erythritol, one of the most popular zero-calorie sweeteners out there, could be a significant factor for blood clotting (thrombosis).
“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.
According to the study, additional lab and animal research revealed that erythritol can cause blood platelets to clot more readily. Those clots can, of course, break off and travel to other organs, triggering heart attacks or strokes.
According to CNN, this study runs contrary to the consensus so far, that low-calorie sweeteners are safe for human consumption, but its author points out that erythritol is being consumed on a scale larger than ever before . From the report:
“Erythritol looks like sugar, it tastes like sugar, and you can bake with it,” said Hazen, who also directs the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Microbiome and Human Health.
“It’s become the sweetheart of the food industry, an extremely popular additive to keto and other low-carb products and foods marketed to people with diabetes,” he added. “Some of the diabetes-labeled foods we looked at had more erythritol than any other item by weight.”
You can find the study here.
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