Using the popular artificial sweetener erythritol is associated with a higher risk of heart attack and stroke, according to new research out of the Cleveland Clinic.
A study of more than 4,000 adults in the U.S. and Europe found that those with higher levels of erythritol in their blood were at greater risk of a major cardiac event, including heart attack or stroke. They also were at increased risk of dying from such an incident.
The researchers also found that the presence of erythritol in the body fosters the formation of blood clots.
Their findings were published in the scientific journal Nature Medicine.
The body does not metabolize erythritol well, so it enters the bloodstream and exits the body through urine.
In a summary of the findings, senior study author Dr. Stanley Hazen of the Lerner Research Institute and Cleveland Clinic says there needs to be more research into the long-term impacts of artificial sweeteners such as erythritol:
“Cardiovascular disease builds over time, and heart disease is the leading cause of death globally. We need to make sure the foods we eat aren’t hidden contributors.”
Artificial sweeteners like erythritol are often found in low-calorie, low-carbohydrate and ketogenic (aka keto) products.
Those who have health conditions such as obesity, diabetes or metabolic syndrome often turn to products containing erythritol. Such conditions already increase the risk of cardiovascular health problems, the researchers note.
The researchers caution that their study shows association but not causation, and that further studies will be necessary to confirm their findings.
In the meantime, they urge everyone to talk to their doctor or a certified dietitian to get more tips on eating a diet that promotes good health.
For more health news, check out “This Simple Habit Can Help You Live Longer and Healthier.”