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Unveiling the Truth About Artificial Sweeteners and Heart Health

If you are monitoring your sugar intake, you likely know about sugar-free packaged snacks and sweets.

They achieve all the taste without the sugar or calories! It seems like a miracle.

In many of these products, the secret lies in sugar alcohols. These are artificial sugar substitutes that provide foods with the delightful sweetness of sugar but without causing spikes in your glucose levels — delivering taste without adding any calories.

However, satisfying your sweet tooth is now facing increasing scrutiny. Recent research on xylitol, a common sugar substitute in processed foods, indicates that the complete picture on sugar alcohols may not be as sweet as once thought.

Risk Of Artificial Sweeteners

‘Physicians state that studies indicate elevated blood levels of xylitol increase platelet reactivity and are linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes.’

Xylitol, commonly found in candies and desserts labeled as ‘keto-friendly,’ ‘diabetes-friendly,’ ‘sugar-free,’ or ‘calorie-free,’ is a type of sugar alcohol. Sugar alcohols are compounds resembling sugar in chemical structure and taste, but they do not impact the body in the same manner as sugar.

Xylitol differs from typical packets of artificial sweeteners found on restaurant tables; it serves as an additive in food manufacturing plants and is also available in the bakery section of grocery stores as a sugar substitute.

In addition to food products, manufacturers commonly include xylitol in dental care items such as toothpaste and mouthwash. This is because, apart from its sweet taste, xylitol can also aid in cavity prevention and reduce their severity.

Research indicates that consuming large amounts of sugar alcohols as substitutes can cause issues such as bloating, gas, upset stomach, diarrhea, and weight gain. However, his team’s studies also suggest that individuals with high levels of xylitol in their bodies may face an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease.

Consuming foods and beverages sweetened with xylitol can increase the likelihood of blood platelets clotting, potentially leading to serious heart events.