Study: Artificial sweeteners linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease

Researchers also found higher consumption related to greater risk of stroke

Artificial sweeteners “should not be considered a healthy and safe alternative to sugar,” French researchers wrote in a recent observational study, even considering the “extensive use of these substances in products on the global market.”

According to the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, millions of Americans use nonnutritive — or artificial — sweeteners in foods and beverages to avoid the adverse effects of real sugars.

ExploreStudy shows potential dangers of artificial sweeteners

The researchers, however, found artificial sweeteners also negatively affect the body, especially if you use a lot of them. According to the study, higher consumption was linked to a 9% increased risk of cardiovascular disease overall, as well as an 18% higher risk of stroke and other kinds of cerebrovascular diseases.

Not only that, “higher consumers of aspartame had an increased risk of cerebrovascular disease; and higher consumers of acesulfame potassium and sucralose had a higher risk of coronary heart disease,” Healthline wrote.

Although use of other artificial sweeteners, including plant-based stevia, was reported, there wasn’t enough for researchers to include it in their analysis.

The September 7 study involved more than 103,000 French adults, nearly 80% of whom were female. Participants filled out a questionnaires about food, exercise, health and more both at the beginning of the study and every six months after for about nine years.

What makes this study, published in the journal the BMJ, different from previous ones is its inclusion of food in addition to beverages.

ExploreArtificially sweetened drinks as bad for heart as sugary ones, study finds

“Beverages are, of course, a significant source of artificial sweeteners, but these sweeteners seem to be showing up in foods you wouldn’t think of, such as crackers and bread,” Lori Chong, RDN, LD, a registered dietitian, told Healthline.

“Based on other studies and this one, it appears wise to limit artificial sweeteners,” said Dr. Elizabeth H. Dineen, a cardiologist at the Susan Samueli Integrative Institute at UCI Health in Orange County, Calif.

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