A new study has found a link between consumption of artificial sweetener, generally found in dietary beverages, and increased cardiovascular disease risk like stroke.
Artificial sweeteners like aspartame, acesulfame potassium, and sucralose emerged as an alternative to added sugar that enabled the sweet taste but reduced the calorie content.
“Aspartame intake was associated with increased risk of cerebrovascular events, and acesulfame potassium and sucralose were associated with increased coronary heart disease risk,” said the researchers.
The findings were published in the journal BMJ.
The study was based on volunteers aged 18 and above from the NutriNet-Sante e-cohort, launched in France in May 2009.
The main objective was to investigate the relations between nutrition and health over the years. It studied early markers of cardiovascular health like weight status, hypertension, inflammation, vascular dysfunction, or gut microbiota perturbation in association with consumption of artificial sweeteners or artificially sweetened beverages, the researchers revealed.
“The main vectors of artificial sweeteners are products that are generally consumed on a regular basis as part of daily dietary habits, including artificially sweetened beverages, table top sweeteners, and dairy products,” said the researcher.
Previously, Several studies have linked the consumption of artificial sweeteners to potential adverse effects while others suggested it to be neutral or beneficial. Although the results were mixed, artificial sweeteners currently represent a $7200m market globally, with a 5% annual growth projected to attain $9700m by 2028.
Artificial sweeteners remain a controversial topic and are currently being re-evaluated by the European Food Safety Authority, the World Health Organisation, and other health agencies.