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What is Saccharin?

Saccharin is a low calorie sugar substitute or artificial sweetener which was first discovered in 1879. The popularity of saccharin grew during World War I and World War II when it was used for the sweetening of the foods because of the rationing of sugar. Some people may detect an aftertaste of saccharin, but in most cases of sweetened foods it is mixed in with other artificial sweeteners so it cannot be detected that easily. The aftertaste is often described as metallic. Saccharin is basically benzoic suflilimine, it has the chemical formula C7H5NO3S and it can be produced in many different ways. The process of synthesis introduced in 1950 at the Maumee Chemical Company of Toledo, Ohio was a much improved one which included reactions of toluene with nitrous acid, sulfur dioxide, chlorine and ammonia in order to yield saccharin. Saccharin is commonly used for the sweetening of various products such as toothpastes, medicines, biscuits, candies and drinks. The very name of saccharin is derived from another word which means that it is related to sugar or that it resembles sugar. When heated, saccharin becomes unstable but it does not indulge in any chemical reactions with any other sorts of food ingredients, so that is why it is can be stored rather well. It is usually blended with other types of artificial sweeteners because they always compensate for each other’s faults and weaknesses and mask each other’s off-tastes and aftertastes. Saccharin is most frequently used in combination with aspartame, especially in the production of diet soda. Saccharin is considered as a very important discovery for all those who suffer from diabetes, because it just passes through the digestive system of a person without being digested at all. When used as an artificial sweetener, saccharin is in the form of a sodium salt.

Benefits of Saccharin

Saccharin is commonly used as an artificial sweetener in various different types of soft drinks, baked goods, canned fruit, chewing gums and many other sorts of drinks and foods. It can also be used as a tabletop sweetener. Saccharine is also often featured in various vitamin supplements and medicines and it can be used for the baking as a substitute for sugar. Saccharin is highly beneficial because it does not interfere with the levels of triglycerides or glucose in the blood. Unlike sugar it also does not contribute to the decay of the teeth. Sometime ago, saccharin had a warning label because it was associated with the development of cancer in laboratory animals. Numerous scientific studies confirmed in 2000 that it is completely safe for human consumption.

History of Saccharin

A chemist called Constantin Fahlberg was the person responsible for the invention of Saccharin. He first produced it 1878 at the John Hopkins University. It happened completely by accident. A couple of years later, Fahlberg moved to New York and started applying for patents. Even though the newly discovered artificial sweetener was soon commercialized, it was only during World War I that it became used extensively, mainly due to sugar shortages. It saw another rise in popularity during the sixties and seventies when dieters started using it much more than before. This is mainly due to the fact that saccharin contains no calories. Since its beginnings, saccharin was the subject of numerous government regulation issues. Certain investigations in 1907 even went that far that investigators, who claimed that saccharin was an illegal sugar substitute, got into an argument with the President Theodore Roosevelt who did not believe their claims. In the year of 1958, the United States Congress amended the Food, Drugs and Cosmetic Act (which was brought in 1938) and asked the Food and Drug Administration not to approve any sorts of substances which were proven to induce cancer in humans or animals. There were certain laboratory tests on rodents during the early seventies which shown that saccharine could trigger the development of bladder cancer. This is why all the food items containing saccharin had to have a warning label. In 2000, the warning labels were removed in the light of new researches which shown that there are no elevated risks of bladder cancer associated with the consumption of saccharin. Controversy concerning saccharin continued at the end of the sixties when certain files of the FDA’s investigations were discovered. Attempts were made to completely ban the use of saccharin as an artificial sweetener, but they were unsuccessful. At the moment, the three most popular artificial sweeteners everywhere around the world are sucralose, aspartame and saccharin. The European Union refers to saccharine as E954. In numerous countries around the world saccharin is allowed, but there are still some of them who ban to use of it as a food additive. Some countries still believe that saccharin can be associated with the development of bladder cancer. 

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