One of the many things that are associated with health benefits but are not really ‘beneficial’ for health is artificial sweeteners. For years the food industry has been making people believe that these artificial sweeteners are better than sugar and diabetic or heart patients can use them without any worry. However, this is not true and artificial sweeteners are not safe for heart health.
A research letter recently published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology tells that sugary drinks made with artificial sweeteners increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases. So they can not be used as a ‘healthy version’ of table sugar in beverages and food recipes.
There is plenty of research that shows that a diet based on artificial sweeteners is not healthy and has a negative effect on health. the role of artificial sweeteners on heart health is not fully understood, which is why this research team extracted data from another cohort study (French NutriNet-Santé cohort) and used it to identify the relationship that artificial sweeteners and the risk of cardiovascular diseases share.
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The data included information from 104,760 participants that were requested to provide details of their dietary records after six months. The artificial sweeteners made drinks were determined as those which are made using the non-nutritive sweeteners and drinks that contained 5% or more sugar. Participants were divided into two categories based on their beverages’ categories. These categories included a low consumer group and a high consumer group.
The first follow-up was made from 2009 to 2019 and the conditions reported during this time were stroke, myocardial infarction, angioplasty, transient ischemic attack, and lastly, the acute coronary syndrome.
Comparing the two groups, those who consumed high amounts of sugary drinks were more likely to experience heart-related conditions and also were among the ones who reported having these heart conditions.
Artificial sweeteners are marketed as ‘zero calories’ sugar substitute which is true but calling them ‘healthy’ would be a lie. Making food and drinks sweet without providing any calories can be helpful in losing weight but The American Heart Association (AHA) as well as American Diabetes Association (ADA) warn about using these sweeteners instead of table sugar to reduce the severity of weight gain, metabolic diseases, and diabetes. All of these are the biggest risk factors that cause cardiovascular diseases.
Not just the increased heart health problems but consuming these artificial sugars made food and drinks also cause a number of other regulatory problems.
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There are different types of artificial sweeteners and not all of them are bad for health. U.S FDA has approved five of these artificial sweeteners including sucralose aspartame, acesulfame, neotame, and saccharin.
Overall the results suggest that artificial sweeteners made beverages are not a healthy alternative to sugary drinks. This data opens so many questions for regulating the sugar drinks, labeling and promotion of these unhealthy sugar alternatives, and taxes imposed on these products.
This research also establishes a potential link between these artificial sweeteners added drinks and Cardiovascular diseases suggesting more detailed studies can explain it.