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Artificial sweetener linked to higher rates of heart attack, says new study


An artificial sweetener called erythritol has been linked to higher rates of heart attack and deaths by a new study. The sugar substitute leads to an increased risk of blood clotting and stroke too. Erythritol is made by fermenting corn.

The study published in the journal Nature Medicine says people with existing risk factors like heart disease or diabetes are twice as likely to experience heart attack or stroke upon excess consumption of erythritol.

Lead author Dr Stanley Hazen told CNN that the degree of risk is not modest. "If your blood level of erythritol was in the top 25% compared to the bottom 25%, there was about a two-fold higher risk for heart attack and stroke. It's on par with the strongest of cardiac risk factors, like diabetes." Erythritol made it easier for platelets to activate and form a clot.

Dr Andrew Freeman, an expert who was not involved in the research, told the outlet that the findings of the study "certainly sounds an alarm". He said the clotting risks call for more research but with caution. "It might make sense to limit erythritol in your diet for now."

Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute, where the study was conducted, said on its website that over 4,000 people in the US and Europe were observed for the research.

Robert Rankin, the executive director of the Calorie Control Council - an industry association, claimed that the results of the study are "contrary to decades of scientific research showing reduced-calorie sweeteners like erythritol are safe."

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