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Cyclamate

Cyclamate

Cyclamate is the name given to a family of organic compounds that became popular in the 1950s as artificial sweeteners. They are about 30 times as sweet as ordinary table sugar (sucrose) but have none of sugar's calories. By the mid-1960s, a combination of cyclamate and saccharin (another artificial sweetener) known as Sucaryl had become one of the most popular alternatives to sugar.

Trouble arose in 1969, however. A scientific study showed that among rats fed a high dose of Sucaryl for virtually their whole lives, about 15 percent developed bladder cancer. Presented with this information, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decided to ban the use of cyclamate in foods. In 1973, Abbott Laboratories, the makers of cyclamate, petitioned the FDA to change its mind and allow the use of cyclamates once more. Abbott presented a number of studies showing that cyclamate does not cause bladder cancer in rats or have other harmful health effects.

The FDA studied Abbott's petition for seven years before deciding to reject it. Cyclamate remained banned for use in foods. In 1982, Abbott submitted a second petition asking for approval of cyclamate. As of the beginning of 2001, the FDA had not acted on that petition.

What makes this case of special interest is that a potentially important food additive has been banned on the basis of a single scientific study. More than two dozen other studies on its safety reportedly failed to show the same results. Furthermore, the second component of Sucarylsaccharinhas also been shown to cause bladder cancer in experimental animals. Yet the FDA continues to allow its use in foods.

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cyclamate

cyclamate (sī´kləmāt´, –mət), any member of a group of salts of cyclamic acid (cyclohexanesulfamic acid). The sodium and calcium salts were commonly used as artificial sweeteners until 1969, when their use was banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration after reports that ingestion of large quantities of cyclamates appeared to cause cancer in some animals. There is no evidence that cyclamates are associated with cancer in humans.

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cyclamate

cyclamate A non‐nutritive sweetener, 30 times as sweet as sugar, used as the free acid or the calcium salt; synthesized in 1937, introduced commerically in the USA in 1950. Useful in low‐calorie foods. Unlike saccharin, it is stable to heat and can therefore be used in cooking. Chemically sodium cyclohexyl‐sulphamate.

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cyclamates

cyclamates Salts of the acid C6H11.NH.SO3H, where C6H11– is a cyclohexyl group. Sodium and calcium cyclamates were formerly used as sweetening agents in soft drinks, etc., until their use was banned when they were suspected of causing cancer.

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Cyclamate

Cyclamate

Regulatory controversy

Resources

Cyclamate (chemical formula C6 H13 NO3 S) is an artificially-made sweetener with approximately 30 times the sweetness of ordinary table sugar. It does not add any calories, in contrast to a sweetener like sugar, which has made it attractive to those who are striving to lose weight.

While still available in some countries, the sale of cyclamate and its use as a sweetener in processed foods has been banned since 1970, due to concerns of a link between ingestion of cyclamate and the development of cancer.

Cyclamate was synthesized in 1937. Abbott Laboratories acquired the rights to the compound and began to market cyclamate as a sweetener in 1950. At that time, cyclamate was typically formulated as a 10-1 mixture with saccharin, marketed under the brand name Sucaryl®. (Since saccharin is about 10 times as sweet as cyclamate, each compound contributed roughly half the mixtures sweetening power.) The mixture was attractive because the two compounds together were sweeter and better-tasting than either alone.

Another reason for combining saccharin with cyclamate is that the sweet taste of cyclamate develops slowly, although it lingers attractively on the tongue. On the other hand, saccharin has a bitter aftertaste that is much less noticeable in the mixture than when saccharin is used alone. Indeed, cyclamate is better than sugar at masking bitter flavors.

Cyclamate is extremely stable. It can be used in cooking or baking and in foods of any level of acidic or basic character. Scientists have found no detectable change in Sucaryl tablets stored for seven years or more.

Regulatory controversy

Despite the aforementioned advantages, cycla-mate was ultimately banned in the United States. Cyclamates regulatory problems began in 1969, when animal studies established that the long-term consumption of high levels of cyclamate (higher than usual doses of the test compound is a normal part of such studies) was linked to the development of bladder cancer. This led the Food and Drug Administration to ban use of cyclamatebut not of saccharin, the mixtures other ingredient. The issue was far from settled, however. In 1973, Abbott Laboratories petitioned to be allowed to continue to include cyclamate in foods. This request was accompanied by a number of additional studies supporting the compounds safety. The petition was rejected in 1980.

Cyclamate remains banned even though other animal studies have not establish a link between the compound and cancer.

Resources

BOOKS

Rapp, Doris. Our Toxic World: A Wake Up Call. Buffalo: Environmental Research Foundation, 2004.

Rinzler, Carol Ann. Nutrition for Dummies. New York: For Dummies, 2006.

Rubin, Alan L. Diabetes for Dummies. New York: For Dummies, 2004.

W. A. Thomasson

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Cyclamate

Cyclamate

Cyclamate (chemical formula C6H13NO3S) is an artificial, noncaloric sweetener with approximately 30 times the sweetness of ordinary table sugar. It is currently sold in more than 50 countries. In the United States, however, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not allowed its sale since 1970.

University of Illinois graduate student Michael Sveda first synthesized cyclamate in 1937. Some say that he discovered its sweet taste by chance when he accidentally got some on the cigarette he was smoking. The university eventually transferred patent rights to Abbott Laboratories, which brought the sweetener to market in 1950.

Most cyclamate sales were as a 10-1 mixture with saccharin, marketed under the brand name Sucaryl®. (Since saccharin is about 10 times as sweet as cyclamate, each compound contributed roughly half the mixture's sweetening power.) The mixture was attractive because the two compounds together are sweeter and better-tasting than either alone. Cyclamate alone becomes relatively less sweet as its concentration increases—that is, raising the concentration ten-fold increases the total sweetness only six-fold. Thus, if cyclamate were used alone in very sweet products such as soft drinks, manufacturers would have to use large amounts. Besides cost, this risks development of the "off" flavors sometimes encountered at high cyclamate concentrations.

Another reason for combining saccharin with cyclamate is that the sweet taste of cyclamate develops slowly, although it lingers attractively on the tongue. On the other hand, saccharin has a bitter aftertaste that is much less noticeable in the mixture than when saccharin is used alone. Indeed, cyclamate is better than sugar at masking bitter flavors.

Unlike more recent low-calorie sweeteners, cyclamate is extremely stable. It can be used in cooking or baking and in foods of any level of acidic or basic character. Scientists have found no detectable change in Sucaryl tablets stored for seven years or more.


Regulatory controversy

Cyclamate's regulatory problems began in 1969, when a small number of rats fed very large amounts of Sucaryl for two years (virtually their entire lives) developed bladder cancer . This led the FDA to ban use of cyclamate—but not of saccharin, the mixture's other ingredient—the following year. The issue was far from settled, however. In 1973, Abbott Laboratories filed what the FDA calls a Food Additive Petition—that is, a request to allow use of cyclamate in foods. (A fine legal point is that this was the first such request for cyclamate. The law requiring FDA permission for use of food additives was not passed until 1958, so cyclamate and other additives used before that time were exempt.) This request was accompanied by a number of additional studies supporting the compound's safety. The FDA considered and debated this petition for seven years before finally rejecting it in 1980.

In 1982, Abbott Laboratories filed another Food Additive Petition, this time joined by an industry group called the Calorie Control Council. As of 1995, the FDA still has not acted. With the passage of so many years, however, the issue has become almost purely one of principle: Since the patent on cyclamate has expired, few believe Abbott Laboratories would manufacture and market the sweetener if allowed to do so. Possibly, though, another company might choose to offer it.


Does cyclamate cause cancer?

The idea that cyclamate may cause cancer rests on one study: When scientists fed 80 rats a cyclamate/saccharin mixture at a level equal to 5% of their diets, 12 of them developed bladder cancer within two years. Since then, there have been more than two dozen studies in which animals were fed similar levels of cyclamate for their entire lives; none has given any indication that the sweetener causes cancer.

As a result, the Cancer Assessment Committee of the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition concluded in 1984 that, "the collective weight of the many experiments... indicates that cyclamate is not carcinogenic (not cancer causing)." The results of the 1969 study that led to banning of cyclamate, the committee says, "are... not repeatable and not explicable." The following year, the National Academy of Sciences added that, "the totality of the evidence from studies in animals does not indicate that cyclamate... is carcinogenic by itself." A joint committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has similarly concluded that cyclamate is safe for human consumption. Unlike the two United States groups, the WHO/FAO panel addressed issues of genetic damage as well as cancer.

One of the most peculiar aspects of the entire regulatory situation is that, although the apparently incriminating study used a mixture of cyclamate and saccharin, only cyclamate was banned. We now know-although we did not in 1969—that saccharin itself produces occasional bladder cancers. So if the rats' diets did indeed cause their cancers (which some scientists doubt), most people today would assume that the saccharin was at fault.

Despite strong evidence for cyclamate's safety—the WHO/FAO committee commented, "one wonders how may common foodstuffs would be found on such testing to be as safe as that"—future United States use of the sweetener remains uncertain on both regulatory and economic grounds. Nevertheless, many people hope that the FDA will soon clear this 25-year-old case from its docket. Whether manufacture of cyclamate will then resume remains to be seen.

Resources

books

Klaassen, Curtis D. Casarett and Doull's Toxicology. 6th ed. Columbus: McGraw-Hill, Inc., 2001.


periodicals

Lecos, Chris W. "Sweetness Minus Calories = Controversy." FDA Consumer (February 1985): 18.23.


W. A. Thomasson

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