These 3 zero-calorie sweeteners increase your risk of heart disease

A recent study conducted by The BMJ shows that people who were higher consumers of artificial sweeteners had a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, including stroke compared to non-consumers.

The researchers noted that three artificial sweeteners in particular were associated with higher risks.

According to them, aspartame intake was associated with an increased risk of cerebrovascular events, and acesulfame potassium and sucralose were associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease. Aspartame, acesulfame potassium, and sucralose contributed 58, 29, and 10 percent of total artificial sweetener intake, respectively.

“Aspartame intake was associated with an increased risk of cerebrovascular events (186 and 151 per 100,000 person-years in high consumers and nonconsumers, respectively), while acesulfame potassium and sucralose were associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease (acesulfame potassium: 167 and 164 per 100,000 person-years; sucralose: 271 and 161 per 100,000 person-years in higher consumers and nonconsumers, respectively), the study showed.

“Our results indicate that these food additives, consumed daily by millions of people and present in thousands of foods and beverages, should not be considered a healthy and safe alternative to sugar, in line with the current position of several agencies of health”, the authors. he wrote.

“Occasional consumption of artificial sweetener is unlikely to have a strong impact on CVD risk, and therefore even if some consumption had been missed, it would likely have had a low impact on the study results “, said.

According to Market Data Forest, artificial sweeteners currently represent a $7.2 billion (£5.9 billion; €7 billion) global market with annual growth of 5% expected to reach $9.7 billion by 2028.

A team of researchers from the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research (Inserm) and their colleagues extracted data from more than 100,000 participants. The average age of the participants was 42 years and 79.8% were women.

The study was based on the prospective electronic cohort NutriNet-Santé, launched in France in May 2009 to investigate relationships between nutrition and health. Dietary intake and consumption of artificial sweeteners were assessed using repeated 24-hour dietary records and a range of potentially influential health, lifestyle and socio-demographic factors were taken into account.

Artificial sweeteners from all dietary sources such as beverages, table sweeteners, dairy products, etc. were included in the analysis. and by type (aspartame, acesulfame potassium and sucralose).

A total of 37 percent of participants consumed artificial sweeteners, with an average intake of 42.46 mg/day, which corresponds to about a single packet of table sweetener or 100 ml of diet soda.

Compared to non-consumers, higher consumers tended to be younger, have a higher body mass index, were more likely to smoke, be less physically active, and follow a weight-loss diet. They also had lower total energy intakes and lower intakes of alcohol, saturated and polyunsaturated fats, fiber, carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, and higher intakes of sodium, red and processed meat, dairy products, and beverages without added sugar . However, the researchers took these differences into account in their analyses.

During a median follow-up period of nine years, 1,502 cardiovascular events occurred, including heart attack, angina pectoris, angioplasty, transient ischemic attack, and stroke.

Total artificial sweetener intake was found to be associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (absolute rate of 346 per 100,000 person-years in higher consumers and 314 per 100,000 person-years in nonconsumers).

Artificial sweeteners were most notably associated with cerebrovascular disease risk (absolute rates of 195 and 150 per 100,000 person-years in higher consumers and nonconsumers, respectively).

The research further stated that because this is an observational study, cause cannot be established, nor can the researchers rule out the possibility that other unknown (confounding) factors may have affected their results.

Further prospective cohort studies need to confirm these results, and experimental studies are needed to clarify the biological pathways, they add. In the meantime, they suggest that this study provides key insights into the context of the re-evaluation of artificial sweeteners currently being undertaken by the European Food Safety Authority, the World Health Organization and other health agencies.

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