Headline RoundupFebruary 28th, 2023

Popular Zero-Calorie Artificial Sweetener Linked to Blood Clots

Summary from the AllSides News Team

A zero-calorie sweetener popular in keto and other dietary regimens has been linked to increased risk of heart attacks and strokes by a new study from the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute published in Nature Medicine.

Details: The study determined there to be a link between consumption of erythritol, the zero-calorie sweetener, and increased susceptibility to blood clot formation. The study does not conclude erythritol to be a direct cause of heart problems, but determines that “studies assessing the long-term safety of erythritol are warranted.” According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.

Key Quotes: “The degree of risk was not modest,” said lead study author Dr. Stanley Hazen, director of the Center for Cardiovascular Diagnostics and Prevention at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute, who was quoted in CNN’s coverage. Hazen said that “if your blood level of erythritol was in the top 25% compared to the bottom 25%, there was about a two-fold higher risk for heart attack and stroke. It’s on par with the strongest of cardiac risk factors, like diabetes.” CNN also quoted the executive director of the Calorie Control Council, who pushed back on the study, stating that it “should not be extrapolated to the general population, as the participants in the intervention were already at increased risk for cardiovascular events.”

How The Media Covered It: The published study was covered consistently across the spectrum.

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