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SACCHARIN (non-nutritive sweetener)

Saccharin, the oldest of the non-nutritive sweeteners, is currently produced from purified, manufactured methyl anthranilate, a substance occurring naturally in grapes.

It is 300 times sweeter than sucrose, heat stable and does not promote dental caries. Saccharin has a long shelf life, but a slightly bitter aftertaste. It is not metabolized in the human digestive system, is excreted rapidly in the urine and does not accumulate in the body.

Originally discovered in 1878, saccharin is the oldest low-calorie sweetener approved for use in the marketplace today. Over thirty years ago, a study found a link between saccharin and stomach cancer in rats. This caused FDA to propose that saccharin be banned and to mandate a warning label on products containing saccharin. However, subsequent research has shown no link to stomach cancer from saccharin consumption in humans and, based on federal legislation in 2001, products containing saccharin no longer have to carry a warning label.

In addition, the National Toxicology Program of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommended in its “Report on Carcinogens, 9th Edition” that saccharin be removed from the list of potential carcinogens, and the California Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also removed saccharin from its Proposition 65 list of carcinogens.

Today saccharin is still safely and widely used, often in combination with other sweeteners.
Reprinted from the International Food Information Council Foundation



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