"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Sugar Substitutes: New Cardiovascular Concerns?

Diet sodas and other products that contain calorie-free artificial sweeteners are especially popular amongst people who find themselves attempting to shed some pounds. But the health effects of sugar substitutes haven't completely gone away.

Evidence that drinking artificially sweetened beverages helps people shed some pounds. And several small studies have pointed to potential health problems, including an increased risk of cancer, kidney disease, and heart disease. Now, a big study has found a possible link between artificial sweeteners and an increased risk of stroke, heart attack, and related cardiovascular problems (see “Artificial Sugars and Heart Health”).

As is true for all observational studies, the outcomes cannot prove cause and effect, as other aspects may explain the association. For example, in comparison with individuals who didn't eat artificial sweeteners, those that consumed high amounts had the next body mass index, were less physically lively and followed a weight-loss food plan. do

Other strengths of this study include the big variety of participants—greater than 100,000—and the detailed dietary evaluation. More than half of the sweeteners participants reported consuming were from soft drinks. Another 30% got here from tablet sweeteners (resembling in coloured, single-serving packets), with the rest from dairy-based foods and other products.

Fake sugar and heart health

To help make clear how artificial sweeteners may affect the center, French scientists drew on studies from NutriNet Cent, a big, Internet-based nutrition study. A summary of their findings, below, was published online on September 7, 2022 BMJ.

WHO: 103,388 people, about 80% women, with a mean age of 42 years.

What: Study volunteers provided detailed food records over a 24-hour period in addition to other information including lifestyle and health habits and medical history. More than a 3rd (37%) use artificial sweeteners, they usually eat a mean of about 42 milligrams per day – an amount roughly akin to the contents of a tabletop packet or just below 1 / 4 cup of food plan soda.

when: During follow-up, which lasted a mean of nine years, participants received twice-yearly health questionnaires and were asked to report any latest health tests, problems, or treatments.

Key Findings: Artificial sweeteners were linked to a 9 percent higher risk of any kind of cardiovascular problem (including heart attack) and an 18 percent higher risk of stroke.

Unequal Risks?

The study also identified three artificial sweeteners that seem like essentially the most problematic. Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal) was related to an increased risk of stroke, while acesulfame potassium (Sunnett, Sweet One) and sucralose (Splenda) were related to an increased risk of coronary artery disease.

It's not clear why these fake sugars might play a job in cardiovascular problems, Fung says. Some experts consider that artificial sweeteners can stimulate inflammation and alter normal metabolism, gut microbiome and blood vessels in ways in which promote type 2 diabetes, unhealthy levels of cholesterol and hypertension. give But these speculations are based on studies of animals or small numbers of individuals.

Diet soda swap

“These new findings provide further evidence that artificial sweeteners may not be benign in terms of heart health,” says Fung. Diet sodas and other artificially sweetened beverages (including tea and energy or sports drinks) are the most important source of artificial sweeteners within the food plan. If you drink these products every day, try switching to flavored, zero-calorie sparkling water, which now is available in many flavors, including watermelon, blackberry and mango. Or add 100% fruit juice to plain sparkling water. “You can enjoy the fizz and flavor without the questionable additives,” Fung says.

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