Erythritol is a very popular sweetener especially in the low carb scene. Recently, in the very renowned Journal "Nature Medicine" an article ("The aritifical sweetener erythritol and cardiovasuclar event risk," Witkowski et al., 2023) appeared, which raises some questions.
Is erythritol dangerous? Will I harm my health if I use it?
We want to find answers to these questions for ourselves. Nevertheless, I can only give you Insights into my reflections give. Everyone must form his own opinion and make a decision for yourself.
- What is erythritol?
- The study that changes everything?
- What does this mean for me now?
- Should I continue to use erythritol?
- Personal conclusion
1. what is erythritol?
It is a Sugar substitute, which has many advantages over table sugar and other sugar substitutes. It has almost no calories and influenced not the blood sugar level. It also counteracts the Counteract caries formation.
No wonder there is now a Variety of food that are sweetened with it. It is found, for example, in yogurt, muesli, chewing gum and many other products. Especially in the Low carb and keto movement it is frequently used.
Erythritol is also formed naturally in the body and some Fruits and vegetables also contain it. However, this is to a much lesser extent than in industrially sweetened foods.
Also in ice it brings with it a number of advantages. For one we save ourselves calories and at the same time erythritol creates that the ice cream at low temperatures creamier remains than with household sugar.
2. the study that changes everything?
At the end of February is now a scientific paper in "Nature Medicine came out, which makes some waves. Unfortunately, you can't get to the whole article without paying. But let's take a look anyway at what the Core statements are.
The study found that erythritol was associated with a increased risk for cardiovascular events such as Heart attack and stroke, but also death can be associated.
That's quite a hammer!
More specifically, it was found that in the studied group of patients who had relevant complaints or died, the proportion of individuals who had high erythritol levels in the blood had.
Of course, this alone is not enough for such a study. This result was also statistically significant. This means that the differences were so pronounced that it was unlikely that this accumulation is coincidental can be. This has been confirmed in various analyses and patient cohorts.
3. what does this mean for me now?
It is now in my opinion too early to panic. On the one hand there were previous studies, which uses erythritol as harmless have classified. Otherwise, this sweetener would not have been allowed to be used. On the other hand, a connection still means a long time not that something is the trigger is.
Of course, the result should not be dismissed in any case!
On the one hand, the study has shown that erythritol reduces the Promotes blood clotting and thus increase the risk of blood clots. However, this is still No proof for heart attack, stroke or death to have been triggered by erythritol. In addition, all examined patients already preloaded and had an increased risk of cardiovascular events.
Further studies are required, to evaluate the long-term safety of erythritol and, in general, other sweeteners.
4. should I continue to use erythritol?
This is, as I said, a decision that each for himself meet must. I am not a doctor and I do not know your medical history.
In particular, people who have a increased risk of cardiovascular events or thrombosis should consider the use of sugar alcohols (e.g., sorbitol, mannitol, isomalt, xylitol, erythritol) with their Discuss doctor and better refrain!
In any case, forewarned is forearmed. Question yourselves, how much erythritol you consume. If you occasionally eat a scoop of ice cream with the sugar substitute and have no pre-existing conditions, the risk is probably manageable.
However, if you have chosen a diet based on sugar substitutes, you should be careful and stop taking them. reduce.
However, it is not an alternative now to use sugar again, because here too there is a large studywhich was recently published (Kelly R.K. et al, BMC Medicine, 2023). It showed a Relationship between increased sugar intake in the sense of "free sugar" (i.e. added and not naturally occurring, as in fruits) and a increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
5. personal conclusion
So far I have only a few Recipes with erythritol published. This includes my Chocolate ice cream without sugar, a vegan vanilla ice cream and a Low carb chocolate sauce. I will certainly continue to test, eat and publish recipes with it.
It's like with all things. Be it sugar, salt or sugar substitute. As long as you don't have any health limitations, it's okay to eat anything to enjoy in moderation.
And as delicious as ice cream may be, you should only treat yourself to it as a treat every once in a while, and it do not exaggerate. Just because an ice cream has fewer calories, you should not be tempted to eat more of it.
What do you think? Will you do without erythritol in the future? Feel free to write your opinion in the comments.