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The studywhich was published in British Medical JournalMore than 100,000 adults in France participated, 80 percent of whom were women. In the web-based study, the average age of the participants was 42.
The researchers found that participants who ate a lot of aspartame, which is found in sweeteners such as NutraSweet and Equal, as well as in foods such as diet sodas, chewing gum, sweets, and yogurt, were more likely to have a stroke compared to people who did not. Do not consume any.
Participants who ate the sucralose found in Splenda, baked goods, beverages and dairy desserts, as well as acesulfame potassium, which is used in sugar-free pops, had an increased risk of coronary artery disease.
The study began in 2009, in which participants completed five online questionnaires about their diet, health, lifestyle and physical activity. They were also asked about sociodemographic data such as education and occupation.
Over time, participants completed nutritional assessments every six months. During these assessments, they had to report every food and drink they consumed over a 24 hour period. They were also asked to report any medical conditions and new treatments that emerged.
Overall, 37 percent of participants consumed artificial sweeteners. The study found that participants consumed about 42 milligrams per day, which is one individual packet of a tabletop sweetener or 100 milliliters of diet soda.
What are artificial sweeteners?
artificial sweeteners It is an alternative to sugar to sweeten foods and drinks. It is made from chemical and natural materials, and has fewer calories compared to sugar.
Many people use artificial sweeteners weight lossControl blood sugar and reduce sugar intake.
according to British Medical JournalstudyMore than 23,000 products worldwide contain artificial sweeteners.
but, Health Canada It regulates the use of sugar substitutes and considers them safe for most people.
What do Canadian experts say about the study?
Dr. Mark Rowell, President Canadian Cardiovascular AssociationTells Yahoo Canada That while the study raises a very important public health question, the conclusions are not supported by the data.
“I think the conclusions are exaggerated. This is an observational study, which means that researchers are looking at links. They are associations, not causation,” he explains. “If someone is going to drink Pepsi versus Diet Pepsi or vice versa, I don’t think this study changes much. That doesn’t provide enough scientifically backed conclusions to change.”
Roel also points out a limitation of the study: the fact that pre-existing diabetes patients were excluded.
According to a cardiovascular expert, many participants at age 42 may have “silent diabetes,” meaning they haven’t been diagnosed with the disease yet and will be later in life.
“You see a group of the population at risk that has not been accounted for,” he adds. “We know that people with diabetes or prediabetes are at high risk of cardiovascular disease. They may have changed their behaviour, including the intake of artificial sweeteners, based on their knowledge of this risk.”
Improve cardiovascular health
Participants in British Medical Journal The study that consumed large amounts of artificial sweeteners was younger, had a higher body mass index, were more likely to smoke and were less physically active. They also consumed high amounts of sodium, red and processed meat as well as dairy products, and they consumed less fruits and vegetables.
When it comes to cardiovascular health, Roel says there are lifestyle changes he might recommend to reduce a person’s risk of heart disease.
Recommendations include a Mediterranean diet, which includes fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, whole grains, lean poultry and fish. It is also recommended to reduce alcohol consumption and avoid smoking and physical activity.
“All sweets should be cut back as much as possible, whether they are artificial sweeteners or non-artificial sweeteners,” Roel shares. “However, if you’re in an area with a significant level of sweetened beverage consumption, well, I don’t think that reveals the small impact that artificial sweeteners might have in reducing obesity and cardiovascular complications in the long-term going on.”
Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation Heart health tips It also suggests maintaining a healthy weight and managing stress to prevent early heart disease.
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