Artificial sweeteners are often the go-to choice for people wishing to lose weight, but new research suggests they may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
According to the study, the results of which are published in the BMJ, artificial sweeteners are associated with a 9 percent higher risk of any type of cardiovascular disease event and an 18 percent increased chance of stroke.
“Our results indicate that these food additives, consumed daily by millions of people and present in thousands of foods and beverages, should not be considered a healthy and safe alternative to sugar,” the study authors wrote in The BMJ.
Moreover, different sweeteners carried different risk. For example, aspartame, sold under the brand names NutraSweet and Equal, was tied to a 17 percent increased risk of stroke. Acesulfame potassium, sold under the brand names Sweet One and Sunett, was linked to a 40 percent higher risk of coronary heart disease.
For the study, more than 100,000 adults (mostly female) were followed for around a decade, making it the largest to date to investigate cardiovascular health problems associated with sugar substitutes.
At the start of the study, none of the participants had a history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes — and none of them were diagnosed with these conditions during the first two years of follow-up.
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