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In their findings, published in Nature Medicine, researchers studied more than 4,000 people in Europe and the United States. They found that people with high blood erythritol levels were at increased risk of experiencing major adverse cardiac events such as heart attack, stroke, or death.
“Sweeteners like erythritol have grown rapidly in popularity in recent years, but their long-term effects require more in-depth research,” said Lerner Institute chairman of the Cardiovascular and Metabolic Sciences Division. One senior author, Stanley Hazen, said: “Cardiovascular disease has increased over time and heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. We need to make sure the food we eat is not the hidden culprit.”
Erythritol is found naturally in a variety of foods such as pears and watermelon, but in recent years it has become a popular ingredient in low-calorie foods as a sweetener substitute for sugar. Calorie, low carb, and a popular alternative to table sugar for “keto” products.
What explains the association with increased heart attack and stroke risk? Erythritol is about 70% as sweet as sugar and is produced by fermenting corn. After ingestion, erythritol becomes less metabolized in the body. Instead, it enters the bloodstream and exits the body, primarily through urine.
The findings mirror a 2017 study that identified erythritol as a biomarker for increased body fat mass. In contrast to previous assumptions and studies, this study found that erythritol can be metabolized and even produced by the human body.
Researchers found that students who gained weight and belly fat over the course of the year had 15 times higher blood erythritol at the beginning of the year.
But clinical observational studies show association, not causationna
Sugar-free products containing erythritol are often recommended to people with obesity, diabetes, or metabolic syndrome, who are looking for options to manage their sugar and calorie intake.
However, people with these conditions are also at increased risk of adverse cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke. Ascertained by the Calorie Control Council (CCC), an international association representing the beverage industry.
Erythritol is mislabeled as an artificial sweetener because it occurs naturally in a variety of fruits and can be produced from glucose by the human body. Both metabolomics analyzes included individuals already at high risk of adverse cardiovascular events.
“The results of this study contrast with decades of scientific research showing that low-calorie sweeteners like erythritol are safe, which is a global consensus for use in food and beverages. It has been proven by significant regulatory approvals and should not be extrapolated to the general public, said Robert Rankin, Executive Director of CCC.
Furthermore, the CCC argues that in vitro studies cannot mimic the complex physiological environment of the human body, including absorption, metabolism and excretion. Finally, most commercial products containing erythritol usually contain small amounts mixed with other sweeteners, so 30 g of erythritol dissolved in 300 ml of water should be consumed within 2 minutes. The intervention that subjects are instructed to do does not reflect typical reality. World service.
For over 30 years, erythritol has been commercially produced and added to foods and beverages to sweeten and enhance taste and texture. , does not affect blood sugar or insulin levels and does not cause tooth decay.
The safety of erythritol as a food ingredient under its intended conditions of use has been substantiated by numerous human and animal safety studies, including short- and long-term feeding, multigenerational reproductive and teratology studies. The Joint WHO/FAO Committee of Experts on Food Additives (JECFA) reviewed the safety of erythritol in 1999 and established an ADI of ‘not specified’, the highest possible safety category. Already approved for food use in more than 50 countries, including Canada, the United States, Brazil, Mexico, Australia and the European Union, petitions have been filed with additional government agencies around the world to expand the use of erythritol It has been.
“Erythritol has proven to be a safe and effective option for reducing sugar and calories, and has been used for over 30 years to add sweetness and enhance taste and texture to reduced-sugar foods and beverages. “Along with exercise and a healthy diet, low-calorie sweeteners are important tools to help consumers manage their weight and reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease.” .”
The authors of the latest study noted some limitations, including that clinical observational studies show association rather than causation. It argued that long-term safety studies of erythritol are still needed, even though it has been approved to be
“In our study, when participants consumed an artificially sweetened beverage containing erythritol in amounts found in many processed foods, significantly elevated levels in the blood were observed to increase the risk of clotting. levels well above those observed for several days,” said Dr. Hazen. “It is important to conduct further safety studies to examine the long-term effects of artificial sweeteners in general, and erythritol in particular, on heart attack and stroke risk, especially in people at increased risk of cardiovascular disease.”
Cleveland Clinic Study Finds Common Artificial Sweeteners Linked to Increased Heart Attack and Stroke Ratesna
Common Sweeteners in Low-Calorie Foods Can Also Be Indicators of Weight Gainna
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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