Is Saccharin a blessing or a curse?

Saccharin is an artificial sweetener or sugar substitute. It is one of the five approved sugar substitutes that have been approved for use in the United States of America.

A little history lesson here. There were health controversies that surrounded the meat-packing industry in 1906 that led to the implementation of the Pure Food and Drug Act in the same year. Just merely a year later in 1907, the United States Department of Agriculture began investigating saccharin and it had not ceased till today. This is evident when the Los Angeles Times reported today that Saccharin may lead to weight gain.

Here are the claims of the article (rats and humans were used in various experiments and observations):

– Rats on diets containing saccharin gained more weight than rats given glucose
– Saccharin appeared to break the physiological connection between sweet tastes and calories, driving the rats to overeat
– Diet soda may well be the reason behind people’s poor eating habits
Lyn M. Steffen claimed that people who drank diet sodas had a higher chance of becoming obese, than people who drank regular soda
– Food and beverage industries rejected that claim, stating that causes of obesity are multi-factorial (An increase in food portions & decrease in physical activity)

I particularly liked what Adam Drewnowski said at the end of the article:

“We now have studies showing that sugar calories are associated with obesity and the absence of sugar is associated with obesity. Pity those people trying to do something about obesity.”

There is also a survey done by the Calorie Control Council (in 1998) that showed an increase in people’s intake of sugar-free food and beverages. A 2007 survey (see article here) by the council found that the highest number of Americans in the past 15 years, 71 million, or 33% of the population, are currently on a diet.

When will this struggle ever end? My stand is to eat whatever your heart desires…only then will you cease all cravings for an extensive amount of soda or resort to diet soda… which most likely contains saccharin…which in turn might lead to obesity.

Saccharin is only a blessing to diabetics who cannot afford sugar and might want a sweet “treat” once in awhile. It is however a curse to the rest of us who consume it because it helps us in “dieting”. This totally takes out the gulit in me to reach out for another regular coke. 🙂 What do you think?

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9 Responses to “Is Saccharin a blessing or a curse?”

  1. Dom Says:

    As Oscar Wilde said, the only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it.

    Why bother with Diet Coke? Give me Fat Coke anytime. Can’t stand the gross aftertaste of NutraSweet or whatever too.

  2. Sherxr Says:

    I totally agree with you Dom on that point! The metallic aftertaste is usually associated with artificial sweeteners.
    For those who don’t know, artificial sweeteners can cause cancer too. It is still much debated in the scientific world but I rather be safe than sorry.
    Here’s an article:
    If you search the web for information about diabetics, they will also show you that artificial sweeteners are actually not safe for their diets too. Main cause of the illness is carbohydrates not sugar (which most people are misled to believe). So we should control our diet not just replacing it with another artificial source.
    Natural sugars are the best! 🙂

  3. RARA Says:

    In fact, if one is thinking about dieting, he/she should do away with all sorta sodas (diet/ original). It makes me wonder what the person is thinking of when he/she grabs a diet coke, not to mention that the taste is rather synthetic and very flat!

  4. amsiewong Says:

    Dom: Yes Fat Coke rocks, although I much prefer sugared-green tea. 😛

    Sherxr: Oh my gosh, Saccharin might be bladder-cancer-inducing! The warning label ought to be reestablished. Companies producing real sugar should come up with an advertising campaign to support their cause for loving the real thing. 😀

    RARA: Yes I agree to the flatness in taste, and to avoiding soda entirely when dieting. But isn’t food the essence of life? I love food too much to avoid it like that, everything in moderation – that’s my motto.

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