Science Writing (EFE).- A study published today in Nature Medicine has associated the consumption of the artificial sweetener erythritol with an increased risk of myocardial infarction and cerebrovascular accident (ictus).
The research, led by the Cleveland Clinic (Ohio, United States) and carried out with more than 4,000 people in the United States and Europe, has discovered that people with higher levels of erythritol in their blood have a higher risk of suffering a cardiac event. serious adverse
The study has also confirmed that erythritol facilitates the activation of platelets -the cells responsible for stopping bleeding in the body- and, therefore, the formation of clots, a finding that has been observed in preclinical studies.
“Sweeteners such as erythritol have caught on rapidly in recent years, but their long-term effects need to be investigated further,” said Stanley Hazen, the study’s lead author and chair of the Research Institute’s Department of Cardiovascular Sciences. Lerner and co-director of the Cardiology Service at the Cleveland Clinic.
“Cardiovascular disease accumulates over time, and heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. We need to make sure that the food we eat doesn’t contribute in hidden ways,” explains Hazen.
Obtained from the fermentation of corn sugar, erythritol is approximately 70% sweeter than sugar and is used as an alternative to sugar or saccharin because it does not provide calories or carbohydrates.
Products with erythritol are often recommended for people with obesity, diabetes, or metabolic syndrome to avoid their consumption of sugar or calories.
However, these people are also at increased risk of adverse cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks and strokes.
Erythritol, direct to the bloodstream
Once ingested, erythritol is not metabolized but instead enters the bloodstream and is excreted in the urine.
The human body creates low amounts of erythritol naturally, so any additional intake can add up.
The study cautions that measuring artificial sweeteners is difficult and labeling requirements are minimal, often not listing individual compounds.
In the case of erythritol, being a product “generally recognized as safe” by the official Medicines Agency (FDA), means that long-term safety studies are not required.
However, the authors believe that follow-up studies are important to confirm their findings in the general population.
“Our study shows that when participants consumed a beverage artificially sweetened with an amount of erythritol found in many processed foods, markedly elevated levels were seen in their blood for days, levels well above those seen to increase clotting risks.” Hazen explains.
For this reason, the study insists on the importance of “conducting more safety studies to examine the long-term effects of artificial sweeteners in general, and erythritol in particular, on the risks of myocardial infarction and stroke, especially in people at increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
In the meantime, the authors recommend consulting your doctor or a registered dietitian for more information on healthy food choices and personalized recommendations.