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Saccharin - The Facts, Safety and Benefits

***Note: This Article is currently being updated to reflect more current information about saccharin and should be completed by June 28, 2017. Thank you for your patience.***


      Saccharin, marketed as Sweet 'N Low since the late 1950s, is an artificial sweetener that was discovered back in the late 1800's and became commercially available soon after. It has been widely used since that time as a suitable alternative to real sugar but it has declined sharply in popularity in recent decades due to misleading research, the resulting bad press and the advent of recent artificial sweetener discoveries.
      Saccharin is a few hundred times sweeter than regular sugar and the substance has no measurable calories unless it's mixed with flowing agents such as maltodextrin or dextrose which do have a few calories. Although it's not as stable at higher temperatures as some of the other sweeteners on the market, saccharin can still be found in some room-temperature or cold sugar free drink preparations.

Is Saccharin Safe?

      Recent research since the 1990s era clearly indicates that saccharin is considered completely safe and non-carcinogenic when ingested by humans. However, in the 1970s through 1980s saccharin was believed to be a harmful sweetener that increased the risk for bladder cancer, but this was due to flawed animal studies and critical misinterpretations of data[1]. Saccharin is currently listed as a safe sugar substitute by the USFDA, the European Union and the World Health Organization. Other countries which have previously banned saccharin, such as Canada, are now considering a lift of the ban in light of recent research which confirms its safety [2] . While it's classified a safe sugar free sweetener, saccharin is currently not recommended by the American Pregnancy Association if you're pregnant. This is due to the fact that saccharin crosses the placental barrier and studies are still ongoing as to the effect of saccharin on a fetus [3] .

What Are The Benefits of Saccharin?

      Saccharin does have a couple of benefits if you need to reduce or eliminate sugar in your diet. For example, it's considered a calorie free sweetener in the food exchange system and doesn't raise blood sugar levels, which is useful for diabetics or anyone on a sugar-restricted diet [4] . This opens up new dietary possibilities for those that don't care much for other sweeteners or like the idea that saccharin has been used safely for well over 100 years. Like other artificial sweeteners, saccharin is sugar free so there's no danger of tooth decay from using it.



Article References

1. "Artificial Sweeteners and Cancer". National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health.
(http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/artificial-sweeteners)

2. "Saccharin". Health Canada.
(http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/securit/addit/sweeten-edulcor/saccharin-eng.php)

3. "Using Artificial Sweeteners during Pregnancy". American Pregnancy Association.
(http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancyhealth/artificialsweetner.htm)

4. " Can I use artificial sweeteners if I have diabetes?". Maria Collazo-Clavell, M.D. Mayo CLinic.
(http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/artificial-sweeteners/AN00348)



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