A new study suggests that a popular artificial sweetener may not be as harmful as thought. Researchers say they have found evidence in both animals and humans that the sugar alcohol erythritol, which is commonly included in the keto diet, can increase some people’s risk of cardiovascular disease. Importantly, the study only demonstrates an association, not a direct cause-and-effect relationship, and more research will be needed to decipher any possible association.
Study of erythritol and cardiology
The work was led by researchers from the Cleveland Clinic. According to the authors, they were simply looking for any hidden risk factors in a sample of patients undergoing heart scans when they first noticed the connection. Patients who have higher circulating levels of sugar alcohols, especially erythritol, appear to be at a later risk of adverse cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks and strokes. Out of curiosity, they looked at other patient datasets in the United States and Europe and found the same association.
They then conducted studies in the laboratory and on animals, and found that exposure to erythritol appeared to alter the behavior of blood platelets, which appeared to increase the risk of clotting. And finally, in a very small study of human volunteers (eight in total), researchers found that people who took them Erythritol subjects continued to have higher and sustained levels (over 2 days) of erythritol circulating in their blood.
Our findings reveal that erythritol is associated with accident [major adverse cardiac events] It enhances and enhances risk [clotting]The authors wrote in their paper, published Tuesday in Nature Medicine.
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The different lines of research constitute the strength of the study. Scientists have established a plausible mechanism for how erythritol increases the risk of stroke and heart disease. At the same time, their theory is still based on circumstantial evidence – not hard evidence. It’s also possible that any such risk could affect people who are at risk of developing cardiovascular disease in the first place, as the researchers first found the association in people who were already at risk for these problems.
What is erythritol?
Erythritol and other sugar alcohols are popular sugar substitutes, either used alone with other types of sweeteners. It is becoming more popular with the rise Keto diet. Erythritol is too Produced by the body and found naturally in many fruits and fermented foods. Consuming too much sugar alcohol at once can cause stomach pain and other digestive problems, although they seem to be less serious with erythritol particularly. This study appears to be one of the first to report a risk of more serious health problems from erythritol.
Interestingly, there is at least one small study It was suggested that erythritol might actually improve the vascular health of diabetic patients and thus protect them from cardiovascular disease. One major caveat, though, that study was funded by Cargill, a producer erythritol.
This current research certainly deserves to be taken seriously, but it is only the beginning. More work, ideally from other research teams, will have to try to verify what these scientists have found, hopefully sooner rather than later.
“Studies evaluating the long-term safety of erythritol are warranted,” the authors wrote.