Saccharin is a low-calorie sweetener that some people use instead of sugar. Significantly sweeter than sucrose, it has no food value and no calories, and are not digested by the human body. Saccharin is sold under several different brand names as a sugar substitute and also can be used to sweeten candy, gum, soda, juice, jam and other products
First discovered in 1879 by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, is saccharin the oldest low-calorie sweetener on the market. Saccharin gained popularity during the First and Second World Wars, and despite controversy to safety, it has been a popular sugar substitute. However, it is now in competition with other sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose, neotame, acesulfame potassium and stevia.
Because of laboratory tests that saccharin caused bladder cancer in rats, sweetener feared also pose a threat of cancer in humans. FDA proposed a ban on its use. But in November 1977, Congress passed the Saccharin Study and Labeling Act to stop the FDA from banning saccharin. Instead, some products containing the sweetener legally required to have a warning label which stated that the product caused cancer in laboratory animals, and may be dangerous to the user’s health.
Safety studies found no evidence to prove that saccharin causes cancer in humans. Saccharin is missing two of the main characteristics of the carcinogen. It is not metabolized by the body and it does not react with DNA.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, requested Calorie Control Council that the National Toxicology Program review saccharin in 1997. About the research showed saccharin was safe for human consumption, wanted the council to remove warnings from products containing the sweetener. In 2000 established the NTP as saccharin was safe and should no longer be listed as a potentially carcinogenic agent. Warning label was removed from the food the following year and has not since been necessary.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nonprofit organization, maintains its view that saccharin is still an additive that should be avoided, because it is doubtful, and have low nutritional value. There is also no support claims that saccharin can cause allergic reactions in some people, mainly those who can not tolerate sulfa drugs. The symptoms they may experience headache, shortness of breath, rash and diarrhea.