Artificial Sweeteners Could Put You at Higher Risk for Heart Disease, Study Shows

Artificial Sweeteners Could Put You at Higher Risk for Heart Disease, Study Shows

The below article from Prevention Magazine is a bit disheartening. There are natural sugar substitutes we should probably be sticking to such as Whey Low, Stevia, Monk Fruit, Agave Nectar, etc. Here is a link to an article on the best natural sugar substitutes. I suggest you click on this link after reading the below Prevention Magazine article: https://lyfefuel.com/blogs/lyfefuel/top-10-best-sugar-substitues

Artificial Sweeteners Could Put You at Higher Risk for Heart Disease, Study Shows

Sugar substitutes, especially aspartame and sucralose, could be doing more harm than good.BY MADELEINE HAASEPUBLISHED: SEP 9, 2022

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  • A new study has found a link between artificial sweetener intake and heart disease and stroke.
  • Artificial sweeteners were more particularly associated with cerebrovascular disease risk, such as stroke-related events, compared to coronary heart disease.
  • Despite this new information, doctors do not recommend switching back to added sugar in beverages or food as an alternative to artificial sweeteners.

Artificial sweeteners could be doing you a lot more harm than good, especially when it comes to your heart health.

A new study published in The BMJ investigated the relationship between artificial sweetener consumption and the risk of heart disease. The research, led by experts from the Sorbonne Paris Nord University, looked at the consumption of sweeteners from all dietary sources, including drinks, tabletop sweeteners, and dairy products, and compared it with participants’ risk of coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular disease (a group of conditions that affect blood flow to the brain).

Researchers looked at the artificial sweeteners on a molecular level, too, taking into account aspartame, acesulfame potassium, and sucralose.

It’s no secret that many people use artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes as no- or low-calorie alternatives to sugar. They are found in thousands of products worldwide, particularly ultra-processed foods such as artificially sweetened drinks (like diet sodas), some snacks, and low-calorie ready meals.

Researchers looked at data from 103,388 French participants of which the average age was 42 and 80% were female. Dietary intake and consumption of artificial sweeteners were assessed by self-reported repeated 24-hour dietary records.

The study found that total artificial sweetener intake was associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. Artificial sweeteners were more particularly associated with cerebrovascular disease risk, compared to coronary heart disease.

The intake of aspartame, a specific kind of artificial sweetener, was associated with an increased risk of cerebrovascular events, such as stroke. On the other hand, acesulfame potassium and sucralose, both different kinds of artificial sweeteners, were associated with increased coronary heart disease risk.

Researchers concluded that there is a potential direct association between consuming a high amount of artificial sweeteners (especially aspartame, acesulfame potassium, and sucralose) and increased cardiovascular disease risk.

While there are many strengths to this study, there are some limitations to consider. It’s important to remember that no causal relation can be established with results from an observational study, so we can only confidently say that there is a strong association and potential direct relationship between higher artificial sweetener consumption and a higher risk of heart disease. Also, given that the research was conducted in a population of mostly women with higher education levels, this data is likely not generalizable to the entire French population, as well as the global population. Lastly, given that the participants’ data was self-reported, there is a chance that the information collected is not truly representative of the entire health profiles of the individuals.

It’s also important to note that if any of the participants had a history of obesity or any other health conditions that would have predisposed them to a higher risk of heart disease, the increased risk found in this study may not be only attributed to higher artificial sweetener intake, explains Karen Aspry, M.D., co-chair of the American College of Cardiology Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease Section and Nutrition and Lifestyle Work Group.

The team of researchers added that more studies need to be done to confirm these results. In the meantime, international health agencies, such as the European Food Safety Authority and the World Health Organization, should consider the key insights this study provides and re-evaluate how they look at artificial sweeteners in various food products.

Several studies have linked the intake of artificial sweeteners or artificially sweetened beverages to weight gain, high blood pressure, and inflammation in the past. But findings remain mixed about the role of artificial sweeteners in the cause of various diseases, including heart disease.

The bottom line

The harm from these artificially sweetened drinks and foods have relatively low harm to your health alone. However, drinking fewer of these beverages as well as processed foods is better for your health overall, says Dr. Aspry.

And for those of us with sweet tooths, try to get your sweetness ratio from naturally sweet foods, such as fruit, when you can. Sugary drinks can be a hard thing to drop in one day, but limit your use where you can, and your heart will thank you for it!

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