Also Known as
Artificial sweetener, Non-nutritive sweetener, Non-caloric sweetener
Artificial sweeteners are intensely sweet synthetic substances, often used in place of other sugars in food manufacturing and cooking because they are calorie-free.
Saccharin is the oldest artificial sweetener, which was discovered in 1879, and is currently produced from a purified compound found in coal tar. The basic substance, benzoic sulfinide, has effectively no food energy and is about 300 times as sweet as sucrose, but has an unpleasant bitter or metallic aftertaste. It is not metabolised in the digestive tract and is excreted rapidly in the urine. As a result, saccharin does not contribute calories to the diet.
In countries where saccharin is allowed as a food additive, it is used to sweeten products such as drinks, candies, medicines and toothpaste.
How to Select
• Saccharin is available worldwide as a tabletop sweetener under brand names like Sweet 'N Low. It is also found in so-called diet soft drinks.
• It is used in products like soft drinks, tabletop sweeteners, baked goods, jams, chewing gum, canned fruit, candy, dessert toppings and salad dressings.
• Saccharine can be used in place of table sugar to sweeten hot and cold beverages.
• In addition, saccharin is heat-stable and hence suitable for baking.
• Keep in mind that non-nutritive sweeteners carry more intense sweetness than sugar. When substituting these products for sugar, only small amounts are needed to achieve the same level of sweetness. As a result, quantity modifications of several ingredients in a recipe may be necessary to accommodate the use of saccharine.
How to Store
• Saccharin has a very long shelf life.
• Store it in its original packaging in a dry location at room temperature.
• Saccharin is used as a sugar substitute, especially by diabetics and weight watchers who follow a strict calorie-restricted diet.
• However, it is not recommended for pregnant women.
• Plus, some research shows that ingestion of artificial sweeteners might trigger migraines in a small proportion of people.