Sucralose and erythritol: Studies would suggest that these “major players” accelerate certain cancer growth in one case and promote heart attacks and strokes in the other, Tilg said in the APA interview.
In the case of sucralose – “six hundred times sweeter than sugar” – there are currently purely preclinical studies by British researchers, but according to Tilg: “The data are very convincing.” Experiments on mice have shown that the sweetener, which is widely used in the food industry “because it is so potent”, increases the growth of certain tumors, such as pancreatic cancer. The researchers were concerned with whether the sweetener is able to manipulate the immune system. “The answer is: yes,” said the expert.
In the case of erythritol, a sugar alcohol that is also widely used as a sweetener and is well absorbed by the body, there is a clinical study and two large follow-up studies by American scientists. “On the basis of 1,157 patients, it was shown that over three years the rate of heart attack and stroke correlated directly with the blood level of erythritol. That means there is obviously a clear connection here,” emphasized Tilg. This was also the case in the two follow-up studies been found. And in addition, it has been proven in the laboratory that erythritol can reach a concentration in humans that causes the blood platelets to clump together. “And that, in turn, is the prerequisite for heart attacks or strokes,” Tilg clarified. Finally, according to the top doctor, healthy subjects were also given erythritol: “The blood levels that were reached were the same as those that were also in the laboratory has seen the platelets clump together. This shows that it’s not just a purely laboratory effect. When you drink the stuff you get levels capable of causing platelet clumping.”
The bottom line from the findings regarding both sweeteners is: “The concept that all these sweeteners are completely harmless must be ended.” From now on, science must deal with the fact that other additives besides aspartame are anything but harmless, but on the contrary may cause diseases.
In both cases, however, “more studies and more data are needed,” Tilg emphasized. “But from now on the call sign is there and you can’t say: ‘We’re ignoring that.’ Instead, medical science has to deal with it intensively in the form of large clinical studies,” explained the gastroenterologist. There are indications that “although you take artificial sweeteners, they even increase energy intake by manipulating intestinal bacteria and are ultimately able to negatively influence sugar metabolism again.” The original goal – “that people don’t get fatter” – was “not achieved at all, on the contrary”. Now it is a question of finally proving that this increase in sweeteners “is not just a zero-sum game, but is even harmful in terms of causing diseases.”
At some point, all this could lead to such sweeteners being banned altogether, because: “Now there is a huge question mark.” Not least because obesity, i.e. obesity, is increasing globally. “Despite an ever-increasing market for artificial sweeteners,” Tilg added, concluding: “Artificial sweeteners are increasingly under attack.”
Incidentally, Tilg’s conclusions also find their way into a renowned medical publication: Under his leadership, researchers at the Medical University of Innsbruck comment on these latest findings in the specialist journal “The New England Journal of Medicine”, “our bible”, as Tilg vividly put it.