'Sugar substitute xylitol increases risk of heart attack, cancer'

According to recent study, high levels of xylitol have been linked to number of cardiovascular problems, cancer

By Web Desk
June 10, 2024
A representational image depicting the artificial sugar sweeteners. — Unsplash/File

Higher amounts of xylitol, a type of sugar alcohol, is the cause of an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular events, as per a report by the Cleveland Clinic researchers in a study published in the European Heart Journal.

The associations in a large-scale patient analysis, a clinical intervention study, and preclinical research models have been found by the researchers.


With a low glycemic index, xylitol is a lower-calorie sugar substitute. Sugar alcohols are carbohydrates that don’t actually consist of alcohol.

In fibrous fruits and vegetables, corn cobs, trees, and the human body, xylitol occurs naturally in small amounts. Because its taste is comparable to sugar, it’s used as a sugar substitute, however, it has fewer calories.

Ranging from sugar-free candy and gum to toothpaste, xylitol is found in many products. Moreover, people also use it as a sweetener and for baking.

High levels of circulating xylitol were associated with an elevated three-year risk of cardiovascular events, reported researchers in an analysis of more than 3,000 subjects in the United States and Europe.

With the highest amount of xylitol in their plasma, a third of subjects were found more likely to experience a cardiovascular event.

Dr Bradley Serwer, who is a cardiologist and chief medical officer at VitalSolution, which provides cardiovascular and anesthesiology services to hospitals nationwide, told Medical News Today that problems with sugar substitutes date back more than a century.

“Saccharin was first discovered in 1879 and widely introduced as an artificial sweetener in the early 20th century,” Serwer said.

“There was notable concern that saccharin could cause cancer in the 1970s, but this was later clarified in the early 2000s when the National Toxicology Program removed saccharin from its list of potential carcinogens," he said.