According to a new study, the sugar substitute erythritol has been related to blood coagulation, stroke, heart attack, and death. It is used to add bulk to or sweeten goods made with stevia, monk fruit, and other reduced-sugar ingredients. Lead study author Dr Stanley Hazen, head of the Department for Cardiovascular Diagnostics and Prevention at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute, stated that “the degree of risk was not trivial.”
The study, which was released on Monday in the journal Nature Medicine, found that people with pre-existing risk factors for heart disease, such as diabetes, were twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke if they had the highest amounts of erythritol in their blood. There was an approximately two-fold increased risk for heart attack and stroke if your blood level of erythritol was in the top 25% as opposed to the lowest 25%. It’s comparable to the most serious cardiac risk factors, such as diabetes, said Hazen.
Erythritol appeared to be making blood platelets clot more easily, according to additional lab and animal experiments included in the publication. A stroke or a heart attack may result from clots breaking off and travelling to the brain or the heart, respectively. The executive director of the industry association, the Calorie Control Council, wrote in an email to CNN in response to the study that “the results of this study are contrary to decades of scientific research showing reduced-calorie sweeteners like erythritol are safe, as evidenced by global regulatory permissions for their use in foods and beverages.” The participants in the intervention were already at elevated risk for cardiovascular events, so the results “should not be extended to the general population,” according to Rankin. Despite not having read the paper, the European Association of Polyol Manufacturers declined to comment.
What is erythritol?
Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that is naturally present in many fruits and vegetables, along with sorbitol and xylitol. Almost 70% of the sweetness of sugar is present, and experts say it has no calories. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that is artificially produced in large quantities. It has no aftertaste, doesn’t cause blood sugar to increase, and has a milder laxative impact than certain other sugar alcohols. According to a 2011 report by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a sugar substitute is a food additive that mimics the effects of sugar in taste but often has less food energy (NCBI). Like sorbitol and xylitol, erythritol is a sugar alcohol that is naturally present in a variety of fruits and vegetables. “It is calorie-free and provides approximately 70 per cent sweetness of sugar. But the drawback is that it is artificially produced in large quantities,” registered dietitian Garima Goyal shared.
Eight healthy volunteers participated in the study’s last phase, which involved drinking a beverage containing 30 grammes of erythritol, which is the amount that many Americans consume, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which studies American nutrition annually. Erythritol levels and clotting risk were monitored through blood tests during the following three days. Thirty grammes was sufficient to cause a 1,000-fold increase in erythritol levels in the blood, according to Hazen. For the next two to three days, it remained above the level required to cause an increase in clotting risk. How much erythritol is in 30 grammes? Hazen said it was like consuming a pint of keto ice cream. “If you look at nutrition labels on many keto ice creams, you’ll see ‘reducing sugar’ or ‘sugar alcohol,’ which are terms for erythritol. You’ll find a typical pint has somewhere between 26 and 45 grams in it,” he said.
Hazen stated, “My co-author and I have been visiting grocery stores and inspecting labels. He discovered ‘candy’ with roughly 75 grammes of erythritol that was sold to diabetics. The European Food Safety Authority and the US Food and Drug Administration do not have a set “accepted daily intake,” or ADI, for erythritol that is generally acknowledged to be safe (GRAS). “Since erythritol is already abundantly available, science urgently needs to dive further into this chemical. “If it’s hazardous, we should be aware of it,” Freeman of National Jewish Health said. Hazen concurred: He said, “Normally, I don’t stand up and sound the alarm. But I believe we should give this some careful consideration.