Academics have identified a possible link between artificial sweeteners and heart disease. Researchers said that food additives “should not be viewed as a healthy and safe alternative to sugar.” The study, published in the BMJ, examined information from more than 100,000 adults from France.
The authors, led by experts from the University of Sorbonne Paris Nord, examined the intake of sweeteners from all dietary sources and compared them to their risk of heart or circulatory disease.
The participants had an average age of 42 years and four out of five were female. Researchers tracked sweetener intake using dietary records.
Participants recorded everything they ate for 24 hours, repeating the food diary three times six months apart — twice on weekdays and once on a weekend day. About 37 percent of the participants consumed artificial sweeteners.
During a mean follow-up of nine years, 1,502 cardiovascular events were recorded by the participants.
These have included heart attacks, strokes, transient ischemic attacks (also known as mini-strokes), and angina – chest pain associated with poor blood flow to the heart muscles.
Researchers found that consuming artificial sweeteners was associated with a 9 percent higher risk of heart disease and an 18 percent higher risk of cerebrovascular disease — conditions that affect blood flow to the brain.
One type of sweetener — aspartame — has been linked to a 17 percent increased risk of cerebrovascular events, while acesulfame potassium and sucralose have been linked to an increased risk of coronary artery disease.
“The results suggest that artificial sweeteners may represent a modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease prevention,” the authors write.
“The results show that these food additives…consumed by millions of people every day and found in thousands of foods and beverages should not be viewed as a healthy and safe alternative to sugar, in line with the current position of multiple health authorities.”
Tracy Parker, Senior Dietitian at the British Heart Foundation (BHF), commented on the study: “Observational studies like this can only show one association and more research is needed to understand the links between artificial sweeteners and the risk of heart disease and.” circulatory diseases.
“Most adults in the UK eat too much sugar and this is linked to health problems such as obesity and tooth decay.
“Artificial sweeteners are an attractive way to reduce sugar intake and before they can be added to foods in Europe, the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) must approve their use. This is a rigorous process so you can rest assured that they are safe to eat.
“While these results shouldn’t cause undue concern, it’s always a good idea to look at the amount of sugar and sweeteners in your diet. Try swapping out fizzy drinks for water and increasing your intake of heart-healthy foods like lentils, nuts and seeds, as well as fruits, vegetables and whole grains.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/health/oh-sugar-why-artificial-sweeteners-consumed-by-millions-every-day-may-be-linked-to-heart-disease-41970366.html Oh, sugar — why artificial sweeteners consumed by millions every day ‘may be linked to heart disease’