Go slow on artificial sweeteners

Recent reports indicate a link with heart problems.

lifestyle, lifestyle news
Although the evidence is still preliminary, artificial sweeteners have been suspected of raising the likelihood of stroke and other cardiovascular issues.

By Dr Mukesh Goel

Artificial sweeteners, especially erythritol, have been linked to heart disease. Is that true?

According to a recent research by Cleveland Clinic, the impact of artificial sweeteners like erythritol have been found to be a threat to healthy human heart.

It has been discovered that these kind of sweeteners cause clotting in blood via impact on platelets, which increases the risk linked to developing a heart disease. Research is still ongoing, as per researchers the possibility of developing a risk is high but isn’t proven till now.

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What are the other problems caused by artificial sweeteners?

Some other problems caused by artificial sweeteners include the effects mentioned below. However, these problems are not proven for all the people and research on these side-effects is still under process:

Stroke and associated conditions: Although the evidence is still preliminary, artificial sweeteners have been suspected of raising the likelihood of stroke and other cardiovascular issues.

Weight gain: According to some studies, artificial sweeteners may cause weight gain by meddling with the body’s normal capacity for managing calorie consumption.

Diabetes type 2: Artificial sweeteners have been linked to an elevated risk of getting diabetes. The precise mechanism underlying this association is unknown, but it may be associated with modifications in gut bacteria and insulin levels.

Headaches and migraines: Although this is a moderately uncommon effect, some individuals might get migraines or head pains after eating sweeteners.

Digestive issues: When consumed in large quantities, artificial sweeteners can cause digestive issues such as bloating, gas, and diarrhoea.

What is the safest artificial sweetener?

Stevia is a natural sweetener extracted from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant. It is commonly used as a substitute to sweeteners and is generally regarded as healthy for the majority of the people.

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Is stevia advisable?

Yes, Stevia is generally considered safe and healthy. It is known to have zero calories and is a natural sweetener which may potentially reduce pressure and sugar level in blood.

Are low doses of natural sweeteners like jaggery advisable in place of artificial ones, even for diabetics?

It is advisable to avoid natural sweeteners like jaggery for diabetics as although it is a natural sweetener, it is still sweet in nature and would not be beneficial for people having high blood sugar levels. It is always advisable to consume natural as well as artificial sweeteners in moderate amounts for all people, especially those with underlying health conditions like diabetes.

Dr Mukesh Goel is senior consultant, cardiothoracic and heart and lung transplant surgery, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi

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First published on: 26-03-2023 at 01:45 IST
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