Many people note an unpleasant bitter aftertaste in foods sweetened with this product.
It is the third most popular artificial sweetener, after sucralose and aspartame.
But many people do not know how it was discovered.
This knowledge might help you decide on whether or not to include it in your diet!
Way back in 1879 a chemist discovered this particular sweetener (also known as benzoic sulfinide or E954) when he was researching coal tar derivatives.
So you see, he was not trying to discover a new sweetener - or even any kind of food product at all. The chemist that discovered saccharin was looking for coal tar products! It was purely by accident that he discovered his new product tasted sweet.
How did he find out? Who knows?! Maybe he was clumsy. But I can't imagine he lasted too long if he accidentally tasted chemicals!
However he discovered its sweetness - it soon was commercialized, and controversy over the safety of this artificial sweetener has followed along ever since.
Admittedly, concerns over this chemical causing cancer and other health risks have never been fully substantiated. Some studies suggest a risk and others do not.
What is known is that it can cause these reactions in people:
- excessive urination
- tongue blisters
- plus other side effects
Saccharin is absorbed rapidly in the digestive tract. So perhaps more alarming is that it is unable to be metabolized and distributes itself all throughout the body - including crossing the placental wall in pregnant women. What leaves the body comes out through our urine.
Very few studies on the toxicity of this chemical in children have been done, so the American Medical Association (AMA) has recommended limiting intake in children and pregnant women.
One has to wonder why the AMA would make such a statement if we all have nothing to worry about.
Just some things to think about next time you grab that diet soda sweetened with tar coal product. Doesn't sound so refreshing to me.