Today, I am proud to announce that I have traced the source of my health problems throughout much of 2021. It took a while for me to figure this one out, so I am confident in my assertions that I had to bring it to the attention of my doctor and my pharmacist. As I had suspected and mentioned on the Blog earlier this week, I correctly concluded that my “averse effects” were in fact related to an allergic reaction caused by a specific food additive that I am known to have had a prior negative history of. This food additive in question can be found in various everyday foods, beverages, candies, and even medication (as I had found out). It has been scientifically proven to be a potential carcinogen that could cause bladder tumors, was enough for America and hundreds of other countries to consider banning it in the 1970s, and yet received enough pressure during the 1980s from corporate lobbyists of multinational confectionaries and soda firms to have their bans lifted. I am talking about “Saccharin Sodium,” an artificial sweetener as disgusting as Aspartame.
I have always been cautious about the type of foods and beverages that I consume because of this long-standing issue. When I began developing allergic reactions for the first time in years, I was literally dumbfounded. How was it possible for me to be experiencing them despite all my efforts to avoid Saccharin at all costs?
This was an issue that annoyed me last year and I am glad to have discovered this. My real regret is that I should have realized this sooner. From now on, I am going to exert the same degree of cautiousness toward medication as I do with everyday foods and beverages. In a world where it is a lot easier to consume processed foods and artificial flavoring, maintaining a natural, healthy dietary regimen is important because as I had learned early on in Life, real sugar is superior to fake sugar.
“The first artificial sweetener, saccharin, was discovered in 1879 when Constantin Fahlberg, a Johns Hopkins University scientist working on coal-tar derivatives, noticed a substance on his hands and arms that tasted sweet. No one knows why Fahlberg decided to lick an unknown substance off his body, but it’s a good thing he did. Despite an early attempt to ban the substance in 1911 — skeptical scientists said it was an “adulterant” that changed the makeup of food — saccharin grew in popularity, and was used to sweeten foods during sugar rationings in World Wars I and II. Though it is about 300 times sweeter than sugar and has zero calories, saccharin leaves an unpleasant metallic aftertaste. So when cyclamate came on the market in 1951, food and beverage companies jumped at the chance to sweeten their products with something that tasted more natural. By 1968, Americans were consuming more than 17 million pounds of the calorie-free substance a year in snack foods, canned fruit and soft drinks like Tab and Diet Pepsi.“
But in the late 1960s, studies began linking cyclamate to cancer. One noted that chicken embryos injected with the chemical developed extreme deformities, leading scientists to wonder if unborn humans could be similarly damaged by their cola-drinking mothers. Another study linked the sweetener to malignant bladder tumors in rats. Because a 1958 congressional amendment required the FDA to ban any food additive shown to cause cancer in humans or animals, on Oct. 18, 1969, the government ordered cyclamate removed from all food products.”
“Saccharin became mired in controversy in 1977, when a study indicated that the substance might contribute to cancer in rats. An FDA move to ban the chemical failed, though products containing saccharin were required to carry warning labels. In 2000, the chemical was officially removed from the Federal Government’s list of suspected carcinogens.-Claire Suddath, “Are Artificial Sweeteners Really That Bad for You?,” October 20, 2009
In 1981, the synthetic compound aspartame was approved for use, and it capitalized on saccharin’s bad publicity by becoming the leading additive in diet colas. In 1995 and 1996, misinformation about aspartame that linked the chemical to everything from multiple sclerosis to Gulf War syndrome was widely disseminated on the Internet. While aspartame does adversely effect some people — including those who are unable to metabolize the amino acid phenylalanine — it has been tested more than 200 times, and each test has confirmed that your Diet Coke is safe to drink. Nor have any health risks been detected in more than 100 clinical tests of sucralose, a chemically altered sugar molecule found in food, drinks, chewing gum and Splenda.”
“The Center for Science in the Public Interest is an organization that advocates food safety, nutrition, health, and environmental issues. They’re responsible for many of the labeling requirements including the familiar Nutrition Facts labels and the warning notices found on alcoholic beverages. According to this organization, a committee of non-governmental scientists, the National Toxicology Program’s Board of Scientific Counselors, reviewed saccharin data and concluded in 1997 that saccharin should still be considered a cancer risk. By removing the saccharin warning label, the Center for Science in the Public Interest believes that more people, including children, will increase their consumption of products containing the artificial sweetener and increase their risk of contracting cancer. Further, the delisting of saccharin, and the resulting minimization of possible Sweet ‘N Low dangers, sets a precedent for delisting other chemicals that have caused cancer in lab animals but have yet to be proven as cancer-causing chemicals in humans.”
“An often overlooked Sweet ‘N Low danger is that it can cause allergic reactions. Saccharin is a sulfonamide compound which can cause allergic reactions in people that can’t tolerate sulfa drugs. Common allergic reactions include breathing difficulties, headaches, skin irritation, and diarrhea. Anyone who is allergic to sulfa products should avoid Sweet N Low. Even consumers who don’t regularly use artificial sweeteners encounter them on a regular basis. Not only is saccharin used in food products such as diet soft drinks, it is a common ingredient found in medicines, particularly those aimed at children. This hidden Sweet ‘N Low danger exposes youngsters to doses comparable to drinking a whole can of diet soda. Saccharin can also be found in some brands of children’s vitamins and infant formulas and has been linked to irritability, insomnia, and short-term problems with muscle tone.”-Celeste Stewart, “Do Sweet ‘N Low Dangers Still Exist?,” ca. November 15, 2017
The lesson to be learned here is to always read the label before consuming anything. They are there for that reason. But for medication, do a bit of research and talk to your doctor and your pharmacist about any allergies that they need to know before filling that prescription.