If you’ve got diabetes or want to lose weight, you’re probably avoiding sugar like the plague.

And that means you may be looking for other ways to satisfy your sweet tooth.

But if you’re using artificial sweeteners containing a certain ingredient, you could be sending your risk of heart attack and stroke through the roof!

Even worse? Your mainstream doctor will tell you it’s perfectly SAFE.

Erythritol is a natural sugar alcohol found in plants that’s almost as sweet as sugar but has no calories. It’s often used as a filler to bulk up other sugar-free sweeteners (like stevia and monk fruit sweeteners) and is found in sugar-free packaged foods.

But just because it’s labeled a “healthy” food or “diabetic-friendly” doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Just consider the latest research on erythritol.

Increased risk of heart attack

For the research, scientists from the Cleveland Clinic tested the blood of around 3,000 participants, mostly seniors. At the end of the study, the researchers found that participants with higher levels of erythritol were at greater risk of heart attack, stroke, and death within three years.

This sugar substitute works against your heart because it promotes blood clotting, leading to an increased risk of cardiovascular events.

Further research followed eight healthy participants who drank a beverage that contained 30 grams of erythritol – the average amount you would find in a pint of low-carb ice cream – and then had their blood levels and clotting risk tracked for the next three days.

Results showed that the 30gm dose increased blood levels of erythritol by 1000 percent. And the levels stayed high enough to trigger clotting risk for two to three days after.1

“Our study shows that when participants consumed an artificially sweetened beverage with an amount of erythritol found in many processed foods, markedly elevated levels in the blood are observed for days – levels well above those observed to enhance clotting risks,” said Dr. Stanley Hazen, chairman for the Department of Cardiovascular & Metabolic Sciences in Lerner Research Institute and co-section head of Preventive Cardiology at Cleveland Clinic. “It is important that further safety studies are conducted to examine the long-term effects of artificial sweeteners in general, and erythritol specifically, on risks for heart attack and stroke, particularly in people at higher risk for cardiovascular disease.”2

My takeaway

If you’re currently using products like stevia and monk fruit sweeteners – or eating low-sugar packaged foods – check the ingredients label to make sure they don’t contain erythritol.

Instead, look for a product that contains pure stevia extract. I like the liquid version at Trader Joe’s for sweetening drinks like coffee and tea. I also like Stevia In The Raw for baking and cooking. You can pick it up at your local grocery store.

As for those sugar-free treats, skip them. They likely have other dangerous chemicals in them.

Instead, satisfy your sweet tooth with a handful of grapes or a nice bowl of ripe strawberries.

1 https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-023-02223-9
2 https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/980748