KANSAS CITY – The history of sugar reduction dates back to at least the 19th century. Questions about the safety of alternative sweeteners, especially synthetic ones, also date back decades.
Even during a clean label period, sales of artificial sweeteners continue to increase. ResearchandMarkets.com, Dublin, Ireland, forecasts the global artificial sweeteners market will have a compound annual growth rate of 3.5 percent, reaching $9.35 billion by 2028. Weight loss, dental care, diabetes, reactive hypoglycemia and low cost are the main reasons for sweeteners.
Lucky accidents led to the creation of two well-known sweeteners: saccharin and sucralose.
Question the safety of saccharin
Saccharin is the world’s oldest artificial sweetener, according to the Calorie Control Council, an association representing the low-calorie and low-calorie food and beverage industries. Constantin Fahlberg discovered saccharin, a noncaloric sweetener, in 1879 at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, according to the American Chemical Society. While working with benzoic sulfimide, a derivative of coal tar, he noticed a sweet taste on his hand.
The use of saccharin increased during World War I due to a sugar shortage, but an article in the February 20, 1970 issue of Science drew attention to the sweetener’s safety. The cell tumors were found in the urinary bladders of 8 of 80 rats given 2,600 mg per kilogram (2.2 lb) of body weight per day of a mixture of sodium cyclamate and sodium saccharin for up to 105 weeks.
The United States in 1977 began requiring a warning label on saccharin-sweetened foods, according to the Calorie Control Council, but federal legislation on December 21, 2000 removed the saccharin warning label. The rats in the study had been given a huge amount of saccharin. The average user of saccharin ingests less than an ounce of the sweetener each year, and more than 30 human studies support saccharin’s safety at human consumption levels, according to the Calorie Control Council, which added that today it is used in sweeteners from tableware, baked goods, jams, chewing gum, canned fruits, candies, dessert toppings and salad dressings. Sweet ‘N Low, a zero-calorie sweetener containing saccharin, hit the market in 1957 and remains on the tables today.
Did you say taste or try?
In the same decade, questions arose about the safety of saccharin, sucralose was discovered.
Riaz Khan, PhD, then a senior carbohydrate chemist at London-based Tate & Lyle, PLC, called Shashikant Phadnis, who worked with Professor Leslie Hough at Queen Elizabeth College in the UK. Dr Khan in a phone call asked Mr Phadnis to test a product. Mr Phadnis thought he said taste, which he did, finding the product, sucralose, intensely sweet.
The high-intensity sweetener industry soon entered a growth phase.
The United States Food and Drug Administration approved Splenda sucralose for use as an ingredient in a number of food and beverage categories on April 1, 1998.
“We have been steadily building our business since 1990, when the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) approved the safety of sucralose,” said Austin Maguire, managing director of the Tate & Lyle Specialty Sweeteners division. . “At this point we have started the process of seeking approvals from national regulatory authorities. We have always considered the United States an important milestone and, having achieved it, we are now able to intensify our efforts to develop the global market”.
As of 2006, over 60 countries had approved the use of sucralose as a sweetener, which is about 600 times sweeter than sugar.
Tate & Lyle celebrated the 40th anniversary of the discovery of sucralose in 2016. The company in the fiscal year ending 31 March 2022 reported sales of £163 million for sucralose, an increase of 13% on the year previous tax. Heartland Consumer Products LLC owns the Splenda brand and is responsible for manufacturing, selling and marketing Splenda-branded tabletop products available in retail and foodservice outlets worldwide.