Sugar substitute is a bitter pill to swallow

Artificial sweeteners are probably much worse than the real thing when it comes to your health

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Published: Tue 28 Feb 2023, 9:49 PM

Refined sugar is universally accepted as being “bad for health”. However, most times when people — especially younger people — avoid sugar, it’s because they believe is it fattening and calorific. Sugar substitutes that give food the sweetness (think of aerated drinks that are zero-sugar and therefore ‘zero-calorie’) are used to lull us into believing we are consuming less calories — and we don’t have to feel guilty anymore!

For some time now, there has been a school of thought pointing out that sugar replacements are probably much worse than the real thing when it comes to your health. Now, a new study that was published in the journal Nature Medicine confirms that fear. The study claims that erythritol — which is commonly used in most sugar substitutes — has a direct link with strokes, heart attacks, blood clotting, and can even prove fatal. The degree of risk is not modest, is what the lead researchers of the study are saying. And those with pre-existing conditions (such as diabetes, for instance) are twice as likely suffer a heart attack or strike if they had too much erythritol in their system.

The scary part is many products that are sweetened with sugar substitutes — that contain erythritol — have been cleared by government food and healthcare regulatory bodies around the world. Is this new study going to call for stricter monitoring and renewed research in this area? While the jury is out on that, it may be a good idea to cut down your consumption of sugar substitutes. Opt for ‘low-sugar’ instead of ‘no-sugar’.

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