A study published in the British Medical Journal entitled, “Artificial Sweeteners and Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases: Results from the Prospective NutriNet-Santé Cohort” sought to evaluate the association between low- and no-calorie sweetener intake and cardiovascular disease risk. The study authors report an association between sweetener intake and increased risk of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease. Further, they report an increased risk of cerebrovascular events with aspartame intake, as well as an association between acesulfame potassium and sucralose consumption with increased coronary heart disease risk. Like the previous study conducted by this group, which investigated associations between low- and no-calorie sweeteners and cancer, these allegations are contrary to decades of scientific research showing these sweeteners are safe, as evidenced by global regulatory permissions for their use.
Due to the sample utilized in this study, the results of this study cannot and should not be extrapolated to the general population, as those who volunteer to participate in such research activities often exhibit unique characteristics (i.e., lifestyle and socioeconomic factors, etc.) not typical of the broader population. These individuals also self-reported their intake data, which subjects the current study to recall bias, misreporting and under-reporting. Lastly, the observational nature of this study inhibits the ability to establish causality and the likelihood of residual confounding bias must be considered when interpreting these results.
Consumers want options when it comes to sugar reduction and low- and no-calorie sweeteners have are a proven safe and effective choice for sugar and calorie reduction. Along with exercise and a healthy diet, low- and no-calorie sweeteners are a critical tool that can help consumers manage body weight and reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.