(ORDO NEWS) — Artificial sweeteners are hardly a healthy alternative to sugar: a new study has shown that they can lead to the development of cardiovascular diseases.
The harm from adding sugar to food has long been known. Its bad reputation leads both consumers and manufacturers to turn to artificial sweeteners – aspartame, sucralose, saccharin, etc.
However, these substitutes are far from harmless. Some studies show that they increase the chances of developing diabetes and encourage the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
The new negative effects of sweeteners are described in an article by French scientists published in the journal BMJ.
Mathilde Touvier’s team at the Sorbonne University Paris North tracked the effects of sugar substitutes on the health of more than 103,000 French people participating in the NutriNet-Santé clinical trial.
The sample included men and women with an average age of 42 years. Within six months, they recorded three times – for two working days and one day off – in detail the data on all the food eaten and drinks drunk. Sweeteners were consumed by about 37 percent of them.
After following the medical records of the participants over the following years, scientists recorded about 1,500 acute cardiovascular problems, including ischemic attacks, heart attacks and strokes.
At the same time, people who consume sweeteners had a nine percent higher risk of developing such conditions, and 18 percent for cerebrovascular diseases associated with the blood supply to the brain.
In addition, the authors noticed a possible difference in the effect of different sweeteners.
For example, aspartame use was associated with a greater incidence of cerebrovascular problems, while sucralose and acesulfame potassium were associated with coronary heart disease.
“This shows that nutritional supplements, which are consumed by millions of people every day and which are present in thousands of foods, cannot be considered a healthy and safe alternative to sugar,” the scientists conclude.
It is worth adding that their study only demonstrated a correlation between the use of sweeteners and the risk of cardiovascular disease.
It does not completely exclude the influence of other factors, and even more so does not indicate the mechanism of such action.
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