A popular sweetener doubles the risk of heart attacks and strokes

You can find it in everything from chewing gum to toothpaste and more.

It’s in food, but also in many consumer products: xylitol, a low-calorie sweetener used as a sugar substitute, can double the risk of heart attack, stroke and death in people who consume large amounts of it, according to a new study.

Director of the Center for Cardiovascular Diagnosis and Prevention at the Lerner Research Institute, Dr. “We gave healthy volunteers a standard xylitol drink to see how much the levels would rise, and they rose 1,000-fold,” said Stanley Hazen. At the Cleveland Clinic.

“When you eat sugar, your body’s glucose levels may increase by 10% or 20%, but not by a factor of 1,000,” added Hazen, who directs the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Microbiome and Human Health.

The appearance of blood clots is problematic

In 2023, the same researchers obtained similar results for another low-calorie sweetener, erythritol.

Additional laboratory and animal studies presented in both studies showed that erythritol and xylitol can cause platelets to clot and form more easily, which in turn can lead to heart attacks or strokes.

In a new study on xylitol Cardiologist at Mount Sinai Foster Heart Hospital in New York Dr. Differences in platelet behavior were seen even with moderate consumption of xylitol in a real-life drink (normal portion size), Matthew Tomey said. , who was not involved in the study.

Where is xylitol used?

As sweet as sugar but with less than half the calories, xylitol is often used in sugar-free gum, breath candy, toothpaste, mouthwash, cough syrups and chewable vitamins.

Often added to candies, baked goods, cake mixes, barbecue sauces, ketchups, peanut butter, pancake syrups, and more.

Xylitol occurs naturally in foods such as cauliflower, eggplant, lettuce, mushrooms, spinach, plums, raspberries, and strawberries. However, the amount of xylitol found in such natural sources is small, Hazen says.

Commercial xylitol is made from corn, maple, or genetically modified bacteria.

It is noted that in 2023, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned consumers to avoid artificial sweeteners for weight loss and called for further research into their long-term toxicity.

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