Is Xylitol Safe for Your Heart? New Study Unveils Truth

by | Jun 14, 2024 | Health | 0 comments

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Are you relying on artificial sweeteners to assist weight loss? Reconsider your decision! Want to know why? Many studies have revealed the unexpected and unwelcome impacts of these sugar substitutes on human health.

A recent study revealed that Xylitol, an artificial sweetener can contribute to blood clots leading to heart attack and stroke. Is Xylitol safe for you to consume? Let’s have a glance here.

Through this blog, we analyze what Xylitol is, the adverse Xylitol side effects unearthed by research and the controversy around it.

What is Xylitol?

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol, naturally found in lesser amounts in various fruits and vegetables. Xylitol is made from birch trees, corncobs and genetically engineered bacteria for commercial use.

As it is known to have fewer calories and low glycemic index than regular sugar, it is advertised to be suitable for low carb and keto-friendly diet. It is also favored for not raising the blood sugar levels. Thus, it gained its way into the diet of diabetic people and those who want to shed some pounds.

It is also proved to offer some dental benefits in reducing cavity risks by preventing the growth of decay-causing bacteria.

Presence of Xylitol in Processed Food and Drinks

The U.S Food and Drug Administration approved Xylitol in 1963 as a food additive. The FDA gave permission for-“Xylitol may be safely used in foods for special dietary uses, provided the amount used is not greater than that required to produce its intended effect.” The agency also considers these kinds of sugar additives as GRAS- “generally recognized as safe.”

Xylitol is widely used in various processed foods and drinks. Xylitol is mainly used in sugar-free gums, mints, candies, and dental care products like toothpaste and mouthwash. It is also used in some baked foods, jams, and beverages as a sugar substitute. Its ability to provide sweetness without the added calories and negative effects of sugar, it is used in many products aimed at health-conscious consumers.

Is Xylitol safe? What does the experts say about Xylitol?

Despite the much-hyped Xylitol benefits, recent research has prompted experts to reassess the safety of Xylitol. Dr. Stanley Hazen, director of the Center for Cardiovascular Diagnostic and Prevention at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute, conducted a study to investigate the effects of Xylitol on cardiovascular health. Dr. Hazen stated, “We gave healthy volunteers a typical drink with Xylitol to see how high the levels would get and they went up 1,000-fold.”

Let’s see the shocking finding of how a sweetener can harm your health.

Xylitol and Cardiovascular Risks

The Cardiovascular Clinic Team’s study on Xylitol revealed a shocking truth that Xylitol can add its share in causing heart attack or stroke. They made use of the plasma samples of more than 3,000 people who had been fasting overnight. The individuals took only a drink with 30 grams of Xylitol. They identified that Xylitol made the platelets in the blood to clot faster. For a few hours after the drink, Xylitol levels were found to be high in their blood samples.

These people were closely followed for around three years. During the period, many of them encountered cardiovascular events like, heart attack and stroke. Their blood samples showed high levels of Xylitol.

Even the research on mice proved that Xylitol increased the rate of blood clotting at the site of injured blood vessels.

This study published in the European Heart Journal revealed that consuming Xylitol can heighten the risk of platelets forming blood clots, which could lead to heart attacks and strokes. Dr. Hazen’s study did not claim that Xylitol can cause heart attacks but it can contribute to the factors leading to cardiovascular issues.

People with diabetes or those in the journey of weight loss can encounter heart issues, if they continuously use Xylitol as part of their food.

Though Xylitol is used in toothpastes or mouthwash, they do not pose the same rate of risk as in the case of food products with Xylitol.

Other Artificial Sweeteners in Controversy

Do not think that Xylitol is the only sugar substitute used in foods and drinks. Other sugar alternatives are listed below:

  • Erythritol
  • Isomalt
  • Lactitol
  • Maltitol
  • Mannitol
  • Sorbitol

As per the FDA guidelines, products consisting of sugar substitutes should mention the presence of sugar alcohol and need not insist to name its type in the label.


The same research team had already identified the link between cardiovascular events and Erythritol, another sugar alcohol in February, 2023 itself. Similar to Xylitol, Erythritol was also used in food products and beverages for its low-calorie property. This study included around 4,000 people mostly over the age of 60 with conditions like diabetes and hypertension.

The participants who used food with Erythritol had the presence of high sugar alcohol in their blood samples for more than two days.  The research on mice also indicated that Erythritol promoted blood clots.


Aspartame came to the market as a sugar alternate in 1970s itself. It was one of the six FDA-approved artificial sweeteners in the market including, acsulfame potassium, sucralose, saccharin, neotame and advantame.

Researchers have identified that some long-term side effects of aspartame make it dangerous to consume. The issues included, obesity, diabetes, mood disorders, mental stress and depression, autism and early menstruation. Studies claim that aspartame can be addictive in people.

The World Health Organization (WHO) ranks aspartame as a Group 2B carcinogen, meaning that it is believed to cause cancer in human but there is no sufficient evidence to prove its carcinogenicity.


Neotame was identified to cause damages to the intestinal tract. It might lead to issues like irritable bowel syndrome, as per a U.K study.

Being approved by the FDA in 2002, neotame was used in food products like cakes and confectionary foods as a favor enhancer. It was even used as tabletop seasoning.

The use of neotame can damage the healthy epithelial cells on the gut, which form a protective lining and even disrupt the gut microbiome. This could affect the digestion, immunity and other issues like gut leakages.

In brief, when clinging on to sugar substitutes to satiate your sweet tooth, remember they come with their share of side effects too. Though these sweeteners come with some benefits, the wider range of adverse side effects like cardiovascular risks cannot be overlooked.

Not only Xylitol, other sweeteners too have their own story of side effects. Instead of buying dangers with your own money, you should learn to stay away from such sweet poisons. Replacing your artificially sweetened beverages, you can rely on water and unsweetened beverages to keep yourself safe and healthy.

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MedLegal360 is a specialized author in medical-legal matters, providing clear, authoritative insights on healthcare legislation and personal injury litigation for professionals and the curious.

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