One of the accounts of how saccharin was accidentally discovered in a laboratory in 1879 appears in the American Chemical Society (ACS). After that discovery, saccharin quickly became a center of interest as an allegedly safe alternative to sugar. It was the only artificial sweetener available in the early 20th century. And despite its bitter taste, it was regarded as a valuable sugar alternative for people with diabetes and those who wanted to lower their sugar intake to improve their health. Let’s look at the hazards of consuming saccharin.
There we two reasons for using saccharin:
- For weight loss
- For eating less processed sugar due to concerns that:
- it has high calories
- it is bad for teeth
- it could be causing diabetes
- and much more.
As we look at some developed countries, such as the U.S., we see reported epidemic levels of Type 2 diabetes and obesity. Most experts have placed the blame on saccharin.
Does Saccharin Raise Blood Sugar Levels?
Here is what Diabetes.co.uk say on their website about saccharin:
Although marketed as a ‘calorie-free’ sweetener, several recent studies have found that saccharin actually raises blood glucose levels. It is thought that these effects are due to changes in gut bacteria triggered by the sweeteners.
Even though it is sold as a ‘calorie-free’ sweetener, several recent studies have discovered that saccharin actually raises the levels of blood glucose. It is thought that these results are due to transformations in bacteria in the digestive tract that alters the way food is digested and used. Researchers believe that saccharin causes these changes.
The chemicals also alter brain chemistry, interfering with the processes that signal a person feels satisfied after eating. These chemicals also restrain the function of two essential hormones, leptin and insulin. The interference causes interrupted signaling that can cause weight gain, primarily around the waist. Furthermore, it can lead to insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome, which are the forerunners of diabetes.
Reflection on Safety
Safety concerns in recent years have plagued the use of saccharin in human food. Research on laboratory rats connected saccharin with the growth of bladder cancer in rodents during the early 1970s. This resulted in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) trying to ban it. However, public outcry led to the U.S. Congress interfering and permitting saccharin to stay on the market as long as there were health warnings placed on all food that contained it.
Warning labels on products that contained saccharin were removed in 2000. However, the following year, the FDA changed its position and declared saccharin safe for consumption. This position was taken in spite of the fact that saccharin has been linked to:
- Skin problems
- Difficulties in breathing
- Allergic reactions
What is important to note is that there are other safe sweeteners that don’t interfere with blood sugar or pose a risk of cancer. The best alternative is stevia, which comes from a South American plant and has no impact on blood sugar, and no calories. Steer away from saccharin and experience what a difference it can make to your health.
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