What is Cyclamate?

Cyclamates were especially popular with manufacturers of various types of soft drinks.

Cyclamates are artificial sweeteners developed in the 1930s for use in a variety of industrialized foods and beverages. Considered thirty times sweeter than sucrose, cyclamate is derived from cyclohexylsulfamic acid. Health concerns led to a ban on the sweetener in some countries in the mid-20th century, although there are a number of nations today that continue to approve the product for regular use.

Michael Sveda, a student at the University of Illinois, is often credited with developing cyclamate. Starting in 1937, this sugar substitute became enormously popular in all types of foods and beverages, often eclipsing other sweetener options. Because cyclamate could be produced quickly and economically, it became especially popular with manufacturers of various types of soft drinks.

However, research into the effects of cyclamate on the body has begun to indicate that there may be health risks for anyone who consumes the sweetener on a daily basis. As a result of several years of research, the United States Food and Drug Administration has officially banned the use of cyclamate in commercially prepared foods and beverages. Several major soft drink manufacturers began announcing plans to phase out the use of the sweetener before the ban’s start date of 1969. As a result, devotees who feared the change would forever alter the taste of their favorite soft drink moved quickly to buy the biggest one. possible number of soft drinks in cans before the official start of the ban.

Additional research since the ban was implemented has led some to question the desirability of removing cyclamate from regular use. An official petition was made to the FDA in 1982, requesting the lifting of the ban imposed thirteen years earlier. Today, well over fifty different countries around the world allow cyclamate to be used in domestically manufactured products.

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Countries that continue to allow the use of cyclamate as one of several approved artificial sweeteners often impose limits on the amount of the product that can be used in a single unit of any commercially prepared food or beverage. One reason for this action is to minimize the chances of ingesting large amounts of the sweetener during any twenty-four hour period. The limitations often have to do with contemporary research indicating that cyclamate converts in the body at a faster rate than previously thought.

It is not uncommon for countries participating in the European Union to allow the use of this sugar substitute. In addition to being used in soft drinks, the sweetener can also be found in products containing milk and several brands of fruit juices. Research continues into the potential negative effects of cyclamate, along with research into all types of artificial sweeteners.

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