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The Epoch TimesPopular Sugar Substitute Tied to Increased Risk of Heart Attack, Stroke: Cleveland Clinic Study

Cleveland Clinic Study Links High Xylitol Intake to Elevated Cardiovascular Risk

A recent study by the Cleveland Clinic, published in the European Heart Journal, has revealed that high levels of xylitol, a commonly used sugar substitute, can significantly increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases. This finding is particularly concerning as xylitol is frequently recommended for patients with diabetes and other metabolic conditions. The study strengthens the argument on the need for further research into the cardiovascular impacts of sugar substitutes, which are often considered safe alternatives to sugar.

Key Points:

  • Study Overview: Conducted by the Cleveland Clinic and published in the European Heart Journal, the study examined the health effects of xylitol.
  • Xylitol Properties: Xylitol is a natural sugar alcohol found in trace amounts in fruits and vegetables and commonly used in sugar-free products like candy, gum, and baked goods.
  • Usage in Diabetes: Xylitol is often recommended for diabetic patients due to its ability to sweeten foods without raising blood sugar levels.
  • Dental Benefits: Xylitol is used in dental products like toothpaste for its ability to reduce the risk of dental cavities.
  • Research Findings: High levels of xylitol intake were associated with an elevated three-year risk of cardiovascular events, including heart attack and stroke.
  • Patient Demographics: The study involved more than 3,000 US and European patients, many with pre-existing conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, or diabetes.
  • Blood Clotting Risks: Xylitol interacts with blood platelets, increasing the likelihood of clotting, which can lead to thrombosis.
  • Study Limitations: The study was observational and could not establish causation, highlighting the need for further research.
  • Clinical Implications: Physicians should be cautious when recommending xylitol to patients with cardiovascular risk factors, including those with diabetes and obesity.
  • Dietary Recommendations: Emphasis on managing blood sugar through healthy lifestyle choices and dietary modifications, such as the DASH diet, which reduces processed food intake.

“This study again shows the immediate need for investigating sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners, especially as they continue to be recommended in combatting conditions like obesity or diabetes.”
– Dr. Stanley Hazen, Chair of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Sciences at Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute and the study’s lead researcher

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