A recent large-scale study published by The BMJ has called into question the safety of artificial sweeteners, commonly seen as a healthier alternative to sugar.
According to the research, high consumption of these sweeteners may be linked to a greater risk of cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks and strokes.
What Did the Research Involve?
Researchers from the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research analyzed data from the NutriNet-Santé study, which included 103,388 participants with an average age of 42 years. The majority of the participants were female.
To ascertain artificial sweetener consumption, repeated 24-hour dietary records were used. The study found that 37% of the participants consumed artificial sweeteners like aspartame, acesulfame potassium, and sucralose.
After accounting for various lifestyle factors and pre-existing health conditions, researchers found that higher consumption of artificial sweeteners was associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events.
This association was particularly strong for cerebrovascular diseases. Aspartame, acesulfame potassium, and sucralose were all specifically associated with increased risks of certain heart-related issues.
A Grain of Salt?
Although the study is observational in nature, meaning it can’t prove cause and effect, its scale and quality of data add considerable weight to the findings. Still, the results are not definitive and could be influenced by other, unknown factors.
Artificial sweeteners have been marketed as a healthier alternative to sugar, particularly for those looking to lose weight or manage diabetes.
This new research suggests that substituting sugar with artificial sweeteners may not be as beneficial for heart health as previously thought.
While further studies are needed to confirm these findings, this study provides significant insights as global health agencies are in the process of reevaluating the safety of artificial sweeteners.
Although they may be calorie-free, artificial sweeteners may not be risk-free when it comes to your heart health.
If you consume these products regularly, it may be time to reconsider your choices, particularly if you have other risk factors for heart disease. Always consult your healthcare provider for personalized medical advice.
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The research findings can be found in The BMJ.
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