Have you heard the recent news linking erythritol to heart disease? Before you give up this naturally occurring sweetener found in fruits and vegetables and cave into sensationalism and charlatanism, let's take a closer look at the study, the claims, and the facts.
MYTH: Erythritol is Artificial
Erythritol is actually a naturally occurring sweetener found in small amounts in various fruits and vegetables. It has several potential health benefits and is used by countless people and products to improve their health.
FACT: The Study is Associative
The study linking erythritol to heart disease is an associative study. Associative studies, especially in the hands of media and charlatans, use exceptionally weak science to create sensational headlines using humans as information farms to make money. This insanity extends to eggs and olive oil being safe one day and then being the cause of some chronic condition the next day.
MYTH: Erythritol is Produced Only Using our Diet
It is known that erythritol is produced normally in our own body as a metabolite using the pentose phosphate pathway(1). This is akin to how glucose, fatty acids and other substrates are produced in our body as part of normal food metabolism. Erythritol production in our own body is increased when oxidative stress is increased(2) which may have no relationship to the intake of erythritol in your diet!
FACT: Study Has No Control for Dietary Erythritol
The study linking erythritol to heart disease doesn't control for dietary intake of erythritol, lumping both exogenous and endogenous production of erythritol together. This is bad science at its finest.
MYTH: Vitro Studies Translate to Human Studies
The group of scientists mostly did their work in vitro and these results do not translate into human studies. In fact, when scientists did perform a study(3) with a higher dose of erythritol per day in a larger sample size, scientists noticed the exact opposite: substantial benefits when it comes to heart health and endothelial function, a contributor to the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease(4)! This is why we can't have good and healthy things.
FACT: The Study is Extremely Shady
The study linking erythritol, as noted by Dr. Guess on twitter, to heart disease has no randomization and only shows 8 participants in the paper, despite being registered for 40 participants with 6 outcomes. The study is still 'ongoing,' and the results published are not from 4000 participants, as the mainstream media and charlatans would have you believe, but only in 8 people! This should be grounds to question the credibility of the publishing journal and the media that is spreading misinformation.
FACT: The Actual Science of Erythritol Digestion
Erythritol has been approved by European Food Safety Authority and FDA with upwards of 1 gram per kilogram of body weight in humans. High doses and the fact that erythritol simply passes through the body in humans have been tested and even as high as concentrations up to 20% in vivo showing no signs of toxicity(5).
FACT: Erythritol has Potential Health Benefits
Erythritol can help reduce dental plaque(6)(7)(8) and has been shown to not impact glucose and insulin levels(9)(10)(11) while delaying gastric emptying and glucose absorption. Erythritol also enhances satiety and does not increase energy intake(12). The potential for erythritol also includes its function as an antioxidant with positive implications in fatty liver disease(13). Charlatans and media want to take all of this away from you, your loved ones and your children for clicks and money.
In conclusion, the recent news linking erythritol to heart disease is sensationalized and based on a weak associative study with extremely shady practices. Erythritol is a naturally occurring sweetener with several potential health benefits, including reducing dental plaque, delaying gastric emptying and glucose absorption, enhancing satiety, and functioning as an antioxidant(14). So, next time you see a sensational headline, remember to dig deeper and find the facts before making an informed decision.
The Bigger and More Important Picture
While the rise of social media and the internet has undoubtedly brought numerous benefits, it has also given rise to the spread of misinformation and fake news, particularly in the realm of health and wellness. The sensationalism, greed, and attention-seeking behaviors of some individuals and organizations have resulted in the monetization of information at the expense of human lives. It is high time that we recognize the detrimental effects of this trend and become more vigilant and discerning when it comes to the information we consume. Informed consumerism is the need of the hour, and we must prioritize good science and evidence-based research over sensationalism and confirmation bias. Only then can we hope to create real solutions for the chronic diseases plaguing our society and save countless lives from needless suffering and premature death.