The not so sweet side of artificial sweeteners

Dr. Mona Shah, MD joins us to discuss the risks of consuming artificial sweeteners often linked to an significant increase in cardiovascular and coronary heart diseases.

Adding artificial sweetener to your coffee could also be adding extra, unnecessary health risks. 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 that you may not think of as sweetened, like soups, bread, cured meats, and ketchup.

The result is consuming way too much-added sugar. To counteract that we started using artificial sweeteners as a healthier alternative. However, many artificial sweeteners pose more threats than help.

“They’re chemically processed, right? Splenda actually has chlorine in it. It’s like a chlorine in the compound,” says Mona Shah, a cardiologist with Baptist Health.

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 four ounces of soda, which, most sodas are more than four ounces, had a nine percent higher risk of heart attack and an 18 percent higher risk of stroke,” said Shah.

It also can interfere with metabolism.

“I think the body’s kind of like, well should I secrete insulin, wait, this is not real sugar. The whole balance between insulin and glucose over time is getting totally screwed up,” said Shah. “I usually recommend to my patient Stevia, monk fruit, and there’s a newer kid on the block called allulose, which actually has some fiber in it as well.”

Stevia, monk fruit, and allulose are all plant-based and help you get the sweet taste you’re craving without harming your heart.

Truvia and Stevia both come from the stevia plant, but Truvia is a bit more processed and has additional ingredients including erythritol and natural sweeteners.