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June 11, 2024/Daily Health Stories

Artificial Sweetener Linked to Increased Risk for Cardiovascular Events, Study Finds

New Cleveland Clinic research shows how an artificial sweetener called Xylitol is linked to an increased risk for heart attack and stroke.

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CLEVELAND - Cleveland Clinic research has found a link between xylitol, which is an artificial sweetener, and an increased risk for heart attack and stroke.

“This is the second sugar alcohol that we’ve identified that at physiologic ranges, the levels that we’re seeing in the blood, is linked to heightened clotting risk, heightened risk for heart attack, stroke and frankly, death,” said Stanley Hazen, MD, PhD, physician scientist for Cleveland Clinic. “So, one thing to do is to try to avoid it, especially consuming it in large amounts.”

Dr. Hazen, who led the study, said xylitol isn’t as common as other artificial sweeteners, but it is used in some keto-friendly and low-calorie foods.

It’s also used in oral products, like toothpaste.

However, he said toothpaste isn’t a concern since you don’t ingest it.

So, what is a safe alternative to xylitol?

Dr. Hazen said it’s best to eat whole foods instead or, when possible, something sweetened with sugar or honey, but make sure it’s in moderation.

He notes there isn’t enough research on other artificial sweeteners.

However, he hopes that will change in the future.

“One of the things I would like to see happen out of this research is a reappraisal of the regulatory guidelines around artificial sweeteners, or at least a call for more research on this topic so that we can drill down and make sure we’re not inadvertently having people reach for something they think is a healthy choice, and it not be a healthy choice,” said Dr. Hazen.

Dr. Hazen found similar results with the artificial sweetener erythritol.

It too increased the risk for heart attack and stroke.

About Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, it was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. Cleveland Clinic is consistently recognized in the U.S. and throughout the world for its expertise and care. Among Cleveland Clinic’s 81,000 employees worldwide are more than 5,743 salaried physicians and researchers, and 20,160 registered nurses and advanced practice providers, representing 140 medical specialties and subspecialties. Cleveland Clinic is a 6,690-bed health system that includes a 173-acre main campus near downtown Cleveland, 23 hospitals, 276 outpatient facilities, including locations in northeast Ohio; Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada; Toronto, Canada; Abu Dhabi, UAE; and London, England. In 2023, there were 13.7 million outpatient encounters, 323,000 hospital admissions and observations, and 301,000 surgeries and procedures throughout Cleveland Clinic’s health system. Patients came for treatment from every state and 132 countries. Visit us at clevelandclinic.org. Follow us at twitter.com/CleClinicNews. News and resources available at newsroom.clevelandclinic.org.

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