It’s Monday so it’s time for another Medical Minute with Dr. Mel. Sugar replacements have become the wave, especially for people with diabetes who must maintain a normal blood sugar level. Studies have shown that the zero-calorie sweetener, “Erythritol” has been linked to heart attacks and strokes. According to the study done by the Center for Cardiovascular Diagnostics and Prevention at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute, people with existing risk factors for heart disease, such as diabetes, were twice as likely to experience a heart attack or stroke if they had the highest levels of erythritol in their blood.
Dr. Mel hits on this topic and how unhealthy the United States may be compared to the rest of the world in this week’s Medical Minute.
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Listen to the Medical Minute with Dr. Mel below
RUSS PARR: More bad news about another artificial sweetener.
DR. MEL: Yeah, this time it’s Erythritol. So, it’s in a bunch of sugar-free products like sodas, ice cream, and health drinks because it doesn’t raise blood sugar and our body actually makes it naturally and in small amounts. But this is a kicker, the amounts that are being used to sweeten processed foods are 1000 times higher than what naturally occurs in those levels. Appear to be associated with an increased risk of heart attack, blood clots, stroke, and death, so it needs more study. But in the meanwhile, watch your intake of artificial sweeteners in general.
RUSS: So, should we just like focus on real sugar instead?
Dr. Mel: Well, It depends. So, studies show that when you add sugar or eat foods that are high in sugar, like fruit, juice, syrup, and honey, those were linked to a higher risk of heart disease and stroke, too. But if you get the same amount of calories from sugars that naturally occur in foods like vegetables, grains, dairy, and fruit, but not fruit juice, you get the exact opposite effect of that. Less heart disease and strokes. Probably because of the fiber in the food that slows down sugar absorption. So, choose that orange instead of drinking orange juice, and choose the sweet potato instead of a corn muffin. Those things will help to keep your heart and brain health.
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