Sugar Substitutes Increase The Risk Of Stroke By 57 Percent

A new study has revealed that the popular sugar substitute xylitol can increase the risk of serious heart problems and strokes by 57 percent.

Xylitol, also known as birch sugar, is often recommended to people suffering from obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. This low-calorie sweetener has become a popular choice for many who want to avoid traditional sugary products. But now a new study casts a shadow over xylitol’s reputation as a healthier alternative, reports German Focus.

The study reveals blood clots

The study, led by Dr. Marco Witkowski from the German Heart Institute at the Charité in Berlin in collaboration with the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, USA, has revealed that xylitol can promote the formation of blood clots.

The research team analyzed blood samples from over 3,000 cardiovascular patients from the USA and the UK over three years. Tests were also carried out on healthy individuals. The results showed that people with high levels of xylitol in their blood had a 57 percent higher risk of serious heart problems or strokes.

According to a statement from the German Center for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK), xylitol increases the reactivity of blood platelets, which promotes the formation of blood clots and thus increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Widespread use of birch sugar in the food industry

Birch sugar is a naturally occurring substance found in certain fruits, vegetables, and mushrooms, as well as in the human body. It is originally extracted from the bark of birch trees, which has given it its name. Due to its beneficial properties, such as sweetness, consistency, and low-calorie content, xylitol has become a popular ingredient in the food industry.

Erythritol and other risks

The researchers point out that it is not only xylitol that can be harmful. The sugar alcohol erythritol also increases the risk of heart problems.

“Our research illustrates the potential risks of xylitol and shows that sweeteners are not necessarily the harmless sugar substitute they are often believed to be,” warns Dr. Witkowski.

In particular, people with existing cardiovascular risk should reconsider their consumption of xylitol and consult a doctor or nutritionist if in doubt. The researchers plan to continue their investigations into the potential health risks of xylitol, especially considering its widespread use in foods and dental care products. The results have been published in the European Heart Journal.