Study Alleges Popular Sweetener Is Linked to Heart Attacks, Stroke, and Death

( – A new study has revealed that xylitol, a common sugar substitute often included in products labeled as “low sugar,” can increase the risk of stroke and heart attack.

The study, which was published in the European Heart Journal recently and conducted by the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute, followed more than 3,000 subjects over the course of three years. A number of these subjects suffered a heart attack or stroke during the course of the study, and an examination of their blood revealed that the patients who had a stroke or a heart attack had high levels of xylitol in their blood.

The researchers also discovered that xylitol increased the incidence of platelet clotting, utilizing human whole blood and platelets. The experiment also utilized lab mice, where researchers tested the speed at which blood clots when xylitol is present. The mice’s carotid arteries were injured, and researchers found that the rate at which blood clotted in the injury sites were enhanced by the presence of xylitol.

Another study involved testing the blood clotting susceptibility of humans is affected by xylitol. Ten healthy volunteers gave their blood 10 minutes before and 10 minutes after ingesting either a sugar or glucose-sweetened drink or a beverage with xylitol in it. The five participants who drank the sugar or glucose-sweetened drink showed no change in their blood clotting. The other five who consumed the drink with xylitol displayed a significant boost to their bodies’ ability to clot blood right after ingesting the beverage.

The researchers in the study, however, note that xylitol is only linked to the increased chance of a person experiencing a cardiovascular event, but does not directly cause a stroke or heart attack.

According to the American Heart Association, 61% of adult Americans will be suffering from cardiovascular disease by 2050. One of the keys to preventing the occurrence of cardiovascular events is by reducing clotting activity in the blood – which is the opposite of what xylitol does.

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