Short-order cook Ben Eisenstadt và his son Marvin invented Sweet "N Low at a Brooklyn diner in the 1950s. The little pink packets of saccharin and dextrose were a national hit. But the booming business led to lớn a 40-year battle over the family fortune.

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In the book Sweet & Low, Eisenstadt"s grandson, Rich Cohen, tells the family story from a special vantage point. Cohen"s mother and all of her children were disinherited by Eisenstadt"s wife, Betty.

Debbie Elliott talks with Cohen about why artificial sweetener was such a success, his family"s reaction khổng lồ the memoir và the lingering bitterness.

An FDA Guide lớn Sweeteners on the Market

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May 21, 20063:50 PM ET

The Food và Drug Administration has approved four sugar substitutes -- saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame-K, and sucrathảm bại -- for use in a variety of foods.

Saccharin was discovered in 1879, and was used during both world wars lớn sweeten foods, helping to lớn compensate for sugar shortages & rationing. It is 300 times sweeter than sugar. In 1977, a Canadian study that looked specifically at the role of impurities -- và of other suspected tumor causes, such as parasites in kiểm tra animals -- showed convincingly that saccharin itself was causing bladder cancer in rats. That same year, FDA proposed khổng lồ ban saccharin for all uses except as an over-the-counter drug in the form of a tabletop sweetener. Congress responded by passing the Saccharin Study and Labeling Act, which placed a moratorium on any ban of the sweetener while additional safety studies were conducted. The ban was officially lifted in 1991 và saccharin continues to lớn have sầu a fairly large appeal as a tabletop sweetener, particularly in restaurants, where it is available in single-serving packets under trade names such as Sweet "n Low. Because it has a good shelf life, saccharin is used widely in fountain sodas, và its stability at high temperatures makes it an option for sweetening baked goods, unlike aspartame, which degrades when heated. Saccharin also is favored economically because it can be made inexpensively.

Aspartame, approved in 1981, is 180 times sweeter than sugar. It is used in products such as beverages, breakfast cereals, desserts, và chewing gum, and also as a tabletop sweetener. In 1996, a study raised the issue that aspartame consumption may be related khổng lồ an increase in brain tumors following FDA"s approval of the sweetener in 1981. But analysis of the National Cancer Institute"s database on cancer incidence showed that cases of brain cancers began increasing in 1973--well before aspartame was approved--and continued to increase through 1985. In recent years, brain tumor frequency has actually decreased slightly. NCI currently is studying aspartame và other dietary factors as part of a larger study of adult brain cancer.

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Acesulfame Potassium was first approved in 1988 as a tabletop sweetener. Also called Sunett, it is now approved for products such as baked goods, frozen desserts, candies, và, most recently, beverages. More than 90 studies verify the sweetener"s safety. About 200 times sweeter than sugar and calorie không tính tiền, it is combined with other sweeteners. Worldwide, the sweetener is used in more than 4,000 products, according to its manufacturer, Nutrinova. Acesulfame potassium has excellent shelf life & does not break down when cooked or baked.

Sucralose, also known by its trade name, Splendomain authority, is 600 times sweeter than sugar. Sucrathua trận tastes lượt thích sugar because it is made from table sugar. But it cannot be digested, so it adds no calories lớn food. Because sucrathua trận is so much sweeter than sugar, it is bulked up with maltodextrin, a starchy powder, so it will measure more lượt thích sugar. It has good shelf life & doesn"t degrade when exposed lớn heat. Numerous studies have sầu shown that sucrathua does not affect blood glucose levels, making it an option for diabetics.

Sugar Alcohols are slightly lower in calories than sugar & vì not promote tooth decay or cause a sudden increase in blood glucose. Though not technically considered artificial sweeteners, they include sorbitol, xylitol, lactitol, mannitol, and maltitol and are used mainly to lớn sweeten sugar-không tính phí candies, cookies, and chewing gums. FDA classifies some of these sweeteners as "generally recognized as safe" và others as approved food additives.

Compiled from "Sugar Substitutes: Americans Opt for Sweetness and Lite," by John Henkel in FDA Consumer magazine.

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