Sept. 8, 2022 -- Millions of people consume artificial sweeteners in diet soda and other products every day, hoping to save calories from sugar. But the safety of the sweeteners has long been debated. And now a large, new study in France suggests a higher risk of heart disease is connected to them.

And experts suggested viewing these results cautiously, as well, Agence France-Presse reported.

“Aiming to assess the heart disease risk of sweeteners, researchers at the French INSERM institute analysed the data of more than 100,000 adults in France who self-reported their diet, lifestyle and medical history between 2009-2021 as part of the NutriNet-Sante study,” AFP reported.

The research was published in the journal BMJ. It shows that 346 of 100,000 people who consume a high level of the sweeteners developed heart disease. Among non-users, the figure was 314 per 100,000.

"These results, in line with the latest WHO report published this year, do not support the use of sweeteners as a safe alternative to sugar," said INSERM's Mathilde Touvier, who coordinated the study.

The World Health Organization has reported "no clear consensus on whether non-sugar sweeteners are effective for long-term weight loss or maintenance, or if they are linked to other long-term health effects.”

This year, a study using Nutri-Net data found a connection between sweeteners and cancer.

About the new study, the BMJ wrote, “The findings indicate that these food additives, consumed daily by millions of people and present in thousands of foods and beverages, should not be considered a healthy and safe alternative to sugar, in line with the current position of several health agencies.”

Show Sources

AFP: “Sweeteners may be linked to heart disease risk, study suggests”
The BMJ: “Artificial sweeteners and risk of cardiovascular diseases: results from the prospective NutriNet-Santé cohort”

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