Saccharin is an artificial sweetener with effectively no food energy. It is about 300–400 times as sweet as sucrose but has a bitter or metallic aftertaste, especially at high concentrations. Saccharin is used to sweeten products such as drinks, candies, cookies, and medicines.
History[edit | edit source]
Saccharin was discovered in 1878 by Constantin Fahlberg, a chemist working on coal tar derivatives in Ira Remsen's laboratory at the Johns Hopkins University. Fahlberg noticed a sweet taste on his hand one evening, and connected this with the compound he had been working on that day.
Health effects[edit | edit source]
In the 1970s, studies performed on laboratory rats found an association between consumption of high doses of saccharin and the development of bladder cancer. However, further study determined that this effect was due to a mechanism that is not relevant to humans. Epidemiological studies have shown no evidence that saccharin is associated with bladder cancer in humans.
Use[edit | edit source]
Saccharin is often used together with other artificial sweeteners to compensate for each other's shortcomings. A mixture of saccharin and cyclamate, for example, is sweeter than either of its components alone.
See also[edit | edit source]