Scientists Link Artificial Sweetener to Heart Attacks

Scientists Link Artificial Sweetener to Heart Attacks

( – Millions of Americans add artificial sweeteners to their drinks or use products that contain them as an ingredient. The additives allow people to enjoy a bit of sweetness without impacting blood glucose levels. However, a new study shows they come with a risk of heart attack and other debilitating health problems.

On February 27, researchers at the Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute published a study in the journal Nature Medicine about the impact of artificial sweeteners on the body. The scientists found there was a correlation between cardiac events and increased erythritol levels. Researchers tested a group of 1,157 patients who were at risk for cardiovascular problems between 2004 and 2011. The patients who had the highest levels of artificial sweeteners in their blood were twice as likely to die from a cardiovascular event within three years.

After the researchers found the increased levels of erythritol in the systems of the 1,157 patients, they confirmed their findings by testing 833 people in Europe and 2,200 people in the US through 2018.

According to a news release, Dr. Stanley Hazen, the director of the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute’s Center for Cardiovascular Diagnostics and Prevention, said there needed to be “further safety studies examining the long-term effects of artificial sweeteners” and the risk of strokes and heart attacks. The University of Cambridge nutritional epidemiologist Nita Forouhi revealed it’s hard to track the impacts these sweeteners have on health because they’re not reported upon.

In addition to the risk of heart attack, the study found eight volunteers who drank something with 30 grams of erythritol had an increased risk of blood clotting.

Dr. Hazen also told CNN the risk associated with the artificial sweetener “was not modest.” In fact, his study found it was “on par with the strongest of cardiac risk factors,” insinuating that sugar-free may not always mean healthier.

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