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Artificial Sweetener Erythritol Linked To Heart Attacks & Strokes, Research Finds

There is no mandatory labelling requirement for erythritol. That's because it has what we call 'GRAS status', or 'generally regarded as safe' status'.

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A widely used artificial sweetener called erythritol is found to be associated with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, US Cleveland Clinic research revealed. The popular artificial sweetener erythritol is often touted as the "Zero-Calorie Sweetener" which is mistaken as safe for usage for human health. Separate research published in Nature Medicine journal, also found that the component erythritol widely used in food is responsible for promoting blood clotting that was proven in the whole blood of mice during an experiment. 

No mandatory labelling requirement for erythritol

Cleveland Clinic research's Dr Stanley Hazen told CBS that sweetener is usually consumed through processed foods and is made in our bodies. Those who have higher blood levels of this sweetener "are at higher risk for cardiac events over three years", he told the broadcaster. According to Dr Hazen, even the healthiest people, when given a single serving to consume, have shown an elevated blood level that is linked with blood clotting risks. This could persist for up to several days. The main issue with the sweetener, according to health experts, is that there are no warning signs on the label of the products about the potential consequences of consuming them. 

"Many times, you'll find it on labelling, but there is no mandatory labelling requirement for erythritol. That's because it has what we call 'GRAS status,' or 'generally regarded as safe' status, simply because it's found in nature. But the amounts found in nature are thousands-fold lower than what is being consumed currently," Dr Hazen told CBS. 

While there's more research needed to establish the link between erythritol and cardiovascular health, health experts insist that people must check their sugar and sugar substitute intake limit in order to stay safe from the risks associated with cardiovascular health. Hazen, a qualified MD, PhD, stated in the Health journal that he followed subjects who consumed erythritol over time and went on to monitor "who developed non-fatal heart attack, non-fatal stroke, or died". The specialist in preventative cardiovascular medicine at Cleveland Clinic told Health: “The erythritol predicted increased risks for myocardial infarction, stroke, or death in all the subsets examined.” He forbade the erythritol-sweetened foods especially for people suffering from diabetes and obesity. 

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