Medical Moment: Your artificial sweetener may not be all that healthy, study says

Published: Dec. 28, 2022 at 5:51 PM EST
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - In the American diet, the top sources of added sugar are soft drinks, flavored yogurts, cookies, candy, and most processed foods.

But added sugar is also present in items you may not think of as sweetened, like soups, bread, meats, and ketchup. The result is that we consume way too much added sugar. So, to counteract that, we started using artificial sweeteners as a healthier alternative. But, it turns out that while they may be sweet, they might not be as healthy as we are led to believe.

A new study in the British Medical Journal found artificial sweeteners are linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular and coronary heart diseases.

“Basically, what they saw is that people who had as little as two packets a day, or like four ounces of soda, which you know, most sodas are more than four ounces,” explained Mona Shah, MD. “They had a nine percent higher risk of heart attack and 18 percent higher risk of stroke.”

It can also mess with metabolism.

“I think the body’s kind of like, well should I secrete insulin? Wait, this is not real sugar. Or you know, so the whole balance between insulin and glucose over time is getting totally screwed up,” said Mona Shah.

Baptist Health Holistic Cardiologist Mona Shah said there are some good, healthy alternatives.

“I usually recommend to my patient Stevia, Monk fruit, and there’s a newer kid on the block of Allulose, which actually has some fiber in it as well.”

All of them are plant-based and help you get the sweet taste you’re craving without harming your heart.

In case you’re wondering if Truvia and Stevia are the same, the fact is both come from the same plant, but Truvia is a bit more processed and has additional ingredients and sweeteners.