What Are the Side Effects of Saccharin?


Quick Answer

A possible danger of saccharin is that it may cause allergic reactions, which present as headaches, difficulty breathing, skin breakouts and diarrhea, in some individuals, explains MedicineNet.com. Infants may become irritable or suffer muscle dysfunction after taking saccharin.

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Full Answer

There have been concerns that saccharin may increase the risk of bladder cancer, explains MedicineNet.com. Studies conducted in 1977 showed that male rats who ate saccharin had an increased risk of bladder tumors. The Food and Drug Administration subsequently suggested a ban on the drug, but that ban was not passed because saccharin was the only artificial sweetener available at the time, and to take it off the market meant losing a large number of diet products. Instead, warnings were placed on the labels of items that contained saccharin, informing purchasers that the product may cause cancer. As of 2015, however, studies in humans have failed to confirm a link between saccharin and cancer. It was removed from the list of potential carcinogens maintained by the National Toxicology Program in 2000.

Saccharin is often sold under the brand names "Sweet and Low" and "Necta Sweet," states MedicineNet.com. It is 20 to 700 times sweeter than sugar and has a slightly bitter aftertaste. It is used as a tabletop sweetener and as an ingredient in sugar-free gum, desserts, canned fruits and candies, as of 2015.

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