ATLANTA, GA – Saccharin, “the world’s oldest low-calorie sweetener,” is celebrating 125 years of sweetness. It was discovered in 1879 by researchers at Johns Hopkins University and quickly became a boon to food manufacturers and consumers, especially those with diabetes, who used the sugar substitute to sweeten their foods and beverages with fewer calories. Today, saccharin is used in such products as tabletop sweeteners, baked goods, soft drinks, jams, chewing gum, canned fruit, candy, dessert toppings and salad dressing. Sweet’N Low® is the most recognized brand name of saccharin-based sugar substitutes—with more than 12 billion packets enjoyed worldwide each year.

Saccharin Use Skyrockets

Saccharin’s use was fairly limited until the two World Wars. Sugar rationing created a tremendous need for a sugar substitute both in the U.S. and Europe — and saccharin was up to the challenge. After World War II, and into the early 1960s, Americans’ new interest in weight control began—expanding the diet industry and saccharin’s popularity. For 125 years, saccharin has been a low-calorie alternative to sugar for consumers, and its usefulness remains significant. Due to saccharin’s synergistic and functional properties (e.g., heat stability), it remains a valuable low-calorie sweetener for tabletop use as well as cooking and baking.

Saccharin’s Safety Confirmed

Saccharin is one of the most widely studied ingredients in the U.S. food supply. Leading health and regulatory organizations, including the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), World Health Organization, American Cancer Society, American Medical Association, American Dietetic Association and American Diabetes Association have acknowledged saccharin’s safety. More than 30 human studies have been completed and indicate saccharin’s safety at human levels of consumption. An updated position statement published in the February 2004 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association confirms that saccharin, the primary sweetening ingredient found in Sweet’N Low sugar substitute, is safe for consumers.

In “Position of the American Dietetic Association: Use of Nutritive and Non-Nutritive Sweeteners,” the American Dietetic Association (ADA) states, “consumers who want the taste of added sweetness without added energy may select nonnutritive sweeteners [such as saccharin] to assist in the management of weight, diabetes, and other chronic diseases. Nonnutritive sweeteners also have the potential to assist in dental health and dietary quality.”

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