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Saccharin Dangers

Have you ever wondered about the possibility of saccharin dangers while using this artificial sweetener. If not, go through this article for a brief overview of the subject.
Artificial sweeteners, like saccharin have proven to be a boon for diabetics. Nowadays, with more and more people seeking a slim and trim figure, the number of artificial sweetener users has also been increasing steadily. But, nobody is concerned about the possible risks that may be associated with these products, like, saccharin, sucralose, aspartame, etc. Are they totally free of side effects? This article deals with the various aspects of saccharin, especially, saccharin dangers, if any.

What is Saccharin?

Before starting with the possible dangers of saccharin, let us take a look at what is saccharin and why is it used as an artificial sweetener. In fact, saccharin is the first known artificial sweetener that was discovered in 1878, by Constantin Fahlberg, who was a chemist at the John Hopkins University in the United States. The chemical formula of this sweet tasting synthetic compound is C7H5NO3S. The basic compound in this artificial sweetener is benzoic sulfimide. In its acid form, saccharin is not water soluble and so its sodium or calcium salts are commonly used.

Saccharin is said to be around 200 to 700 times sweeter than table sugar or sucrose. So, saccharin is needed in very small quantities, as compared to table sugar. If used in higher concentrations, this food additive may cause an unpleasant or metallic aftertaste. So, saccharin as well as other such artificial sugars are combined in different ratios, so as to conceal individual drawbacks. Saccharin is available in various brand names, like, Necta Sweet, Sweet and Low, etc. It is also very widely used in various products like soda, cookies, cakes, vitamins, etc. As per the exponents of this artificial sugar, saccharin is one of the safest and highly researched products, used as a sugar substitute. Nowadays, use of artificial sugars is not confined to diabetics. These products are widely used by health conscious people, as well as those who crave for weight loss. However, the health aspects regarding its use are usually overlooked. Let us take a look at the possible saccharin dangers, that may be caused by its use.

What are the Dangers of Saccharin?

As mentioned above, the use of artificial sweeteners like saccharin has been increasing steadily. But, is it safe to use these products. Even though, saccharin is said to be one of the safest artificial sweeteners, there are still speculations regarding some possible saccharin side effects. During the 1970s, there was a huge hue and cry over the safety of saccharin, as according to a study published in 1977, rats fed with saccharin developed bladder tumors. This was followed by a ban of this product by the FDA, but later this ban was lifted. Saccharin products continued to be in supply with a warning label. Further studies did not prove the 1977 finding regarding saccharin dangers and so on the basis of a 2000 study, saccharine was removed from the list of potential carcinogens and now it is sold without the warning label. The 1977 study was contradicted, stating that the rats were fed with very high doses of saccharin.

Even though it is said to be safe, still, debates regarding its safety are going on. According to some researchers, artificial sweeteners side effects include depression, joint pain, allergies, diarrhea, headache, etc. It is also speculated that Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, etc may also be among the dangers of saccharin. It is also reported that dangers of saccharin may affect the fetus in the womb, as it is not digested by the mother.

Now, you have a basic idea about the possible saccharin dangers. However, there is no conclusive evidence to prove this. If you can avoid its use, well and good. Otherwise use saccharin in small amounts or switch over to natural alternatives, like, agave nectar, etc. You may also speak to your health expert, regarding its use.
By Sonia Nair
Last Updated: 10/11/2011
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