A study by French researchers has established that artificial sweeteners increase the risk of heart problems. As part of a study, they tracked 103,000 adults for nine years and found that people who consumed calorie-free sweeteners every day had a nine per cent higher risk of heart disease, The Times UK reported.
The chances of suffering a stroke rose for those who ate or drank aspartame, an ingredient used in low-sugar fizzy drinks, and they were found to be 23 per cent more likely to have a stroke.
The participants consumed average of 43mg of sweeteners a day, the equivalent of one packet of table-top sweetener or 100ml of diet soda.
Artificial sweeteners contain sucralose and aspartame, a white odourless powder 200 times sweeter than sugar. While they don’t have any calories, artificial sweeteners have been found to be harmful to health. The latest research published in the British Medical Journal proves the need to cut back on the consumption of diet drinks and foods.
The study says, “These food additives, consumed daily by millions of people and present in thousands of foods and drinks, should not be considered a healthy and safe alternative to sugar.”
Experts believe that sweeteners can hinder with the body’s ability to tolerate glucose, interfere with levels of hormones such as insulin and reduce the health of the gut microbiome. The World Health Organisation is also evaluating these chemicals to gain a better understanding.
There are others who say that there is no need to panic and more studies are needed to gain an overall perspective. However, it is still wise to swap fizzy drinks for water and eat more heart-healthy foods, like lentils, nuts and seeds, fruits, vegetables and wholegrains.
(With inputs from agencies)