What is Saccharin?

Curious about low-calorie sweeteners?  You’re not alone. Conflicting information about low-calorie sweeteners seems to be reaching new heights, so we’ve searched high and low for the facts. Here’s the low-down on saccharin.

What is Saccharin and How is it Different Than Sugar?

Saccharin is considered a no-calorie sweetener since it isn’t broken down in our bodies. This means that during digestion, saccharin passes through the body unchanged and provides no calories in the process. Sugar is different than saccharin because it is broken down during digestion, contributing calories to the body.

Where Did Saccharin Come From?

Saccharin was discovered in the 1870’s by Ira Remsen and Constantine Fahlberg, researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

Sweet as Sugar?

Saccharin is about 200-700 times sweeter than sugar. With a sweetness so high, only a small amount of saccharin is needed to deliver the same level of sweetness as sugar. However, unlike sugar, saccharin provides the sweetness without the extra calories. Saccharin is the primary sweetener in brand names like Necta Sweet®, Sugar Twin® and Sweet'N Low®.

Is it Safe?

Yes, saccharin is safe to consume. It’s one of eight low and no-calorie sweeteners permitted by the FDA for use in the US food supply. All eight have been rigorously tested and reviewed. Leading global health authorities such as the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), FAO/WHO Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) and Health Canada have found low and no-calorie sweeteners to be safe. Saccharin has been used to sweeten foods and beverages since 1900, making it the oldest low- or no-calorie sweetener approved for use by the FDA.

What’s the Bottom Line on Saccharin?

All foods can have a place in our diets, and low- and no- calorie sweeteners are no different. In addition, saccharin is one of many safe options that can be included in broader weight reduction or weight maintenance plans.  What’s most important is to build a healthy eating style and support it with other healthy habits that are sustainable and tailored to your health and lifestyle needs.

Looking to explore more about saccharin? Check out our infographic below.