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What is Cyclamate? An Essential Guide to the Artificial Sweetener

Cyclamate is an artificial sweetener derived from cyclohexylsulfamic acid, which was discovered accidentally in 1937. This non-nutritive sweetener is marketed in the form of salts, primarily sodium cyclamate and calcium cyclamate, with sodium cyclamate being the most commonly used. The compounds are both heat stable and readily soluble in water, making them popular choices for use in a variety of applications within food industry.

This chemical sweetener, being 30-50 times sweeter than sucrose (table sugar), holds a unique position as one of the least potent synthetic sweeteners currently available. Cyclamates have been widely utilized in various food products due to their heat stability and long shelf life. While approved for use in more than 50 countries, it’s important to note that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned its use since 1970, based on concerns about its safety.

Key Takeaways

  • Cyclamate is an artificial sweetener derived from cyclohexylsulfamic acid and exists primarily as sodium and calcium salts.
  • Being heat stable and soluble in water, cyclamate is used in a variety of food applications, though it remains banned in the United States.
  • Despite its ban in some countries, cyclamate continues to be used globally due to its sweetness potency, stability, and shelf life.

Discovery and Features

Cyclamate, a nonnutritive sweetener, is an artificial substance derived from cyclamic acid (also known as cyclohexylsulfamic acid). It is commonly found in the form of sodium or calcium salts, which are stable to heat and highly soluble in water. This white crystalline powder is approximately 30 times sweeter than ordinary table sugar and is used as a noncaloric sweetener in various food products and beverages.

The discovery of cyclamate dates back to 1937 when chemist Michael Sveda accidentally stumbled upon it at the University of Illinois. He had been working on the synthesis of an antifever drug, and during a cigarette break, he found his cigarette tasted unusually sweet due to the cyclamate residue on his fingers. Recognizing the potential of the substance, Sveda filed for a patent in 1939, which was eventually granted in 1940.

In addition to its sweetness, cyclamate has other advantageous properties that make it a popular choice for food and beverage industries:

  • Odorless: Cyclamate does not have any discernable smell, making it an ideal ingredient in various applications without altering the overall aroma of a product.
  • Heat stable: As a heat-stable substance, cyclamate can be used in cooking and baking processes without degrading or losing its sweetening properties.
  • Water solubility: Due to its high water solubility, cyclamate easily dissolves and mixes with other ingredients in food and beverages, providing an even distribution of sweetness.
  • Cost-effective: Cyclamate is relatively inexpensive compared to other sweeteners, which makes it an attractive option for manufacturers.

While cyclamate is approved for use in more than 50 countries, it has been banned in the United States since 1970 due to concerns over its safety.

Types and Properties

Cyclamate is an artificial sweetener that comes in two common forms: sodium cyclamate and calcium cyclamate. Both of these compounds are odourless white crystalline powders and are derived from salts of cyclohexylsulfamic acid (C6H11NHSO3H). The primary difference between the two lies in their sodium and calcium content, with sodium cyclamate being the more frequently used form.

Sodium cyclamate (C6H12NNaO3S) is the most popular form of cyclamate due to its sweet taste and its ability to effectively sweeten food and beverages. Calcium cyclamate, on the other hand, may be used as a replacement in low-sodium or sodium-free products; however, it is not as widely used because it can cause gelation and precipitation in some applications.

Cyclamate possesses a sweetness level that can be up to 50 times greater than sugar, depending on the type of application. Interestingly, when cyclamate is combined with saccharin, the two substances exhibit synergistic sweetening properties, offering an even sweeter taste and improved flavor.

The pH level of cyclamate solutions tends to be relatively neutral, although it may be slightly acidic or alkaline in certain applications. Both sodium and calcium cyclamate exhibit stability, primarily due to their crystalline structure and ability to resist degradation. They are also stable under a wide range of temperatures and pH values, making them well-suited for use in various food and beverage products.

In summary, cyclamate is a versatile artificial sweetener available in two forms: sodium cyclamate and calcium cyclamate. Both are stable and offer a sweet taste with varying levels of sweetness, depending on the application. The properties of cyclamate make it a popular choice for use in food and beverage products.

Uses and Applications

Cyclamate, particularly in the form of sodium cyclamate, is a popular low-calorie artificial sweetener that serves as a sugar substitute in various food and beverage products. Its sweetening power is approximately 30 to 50 times that of sugar, which makes it a widely preferred alternative for people watching their calorie intake or managing diabetes.

One of the major applications of cyclamate is in soft drinks, where it imparts a sweet taste without the added calories of sugar. In addition to beverages, cyclamate is used in a variety of baked goods and desserts. It is known for its heat stability, which allows it to maintain its sweetening properties during cooking and baking processes.

Cyclamate is often marketed under the brand name Sucaryl and can also be found in various forms for use in everyday products. Popular applications include chewing gum, chocolate, dressings, cakes, and fruit juices.

Aside from its versatility in sweetening an array of products, cyclamate also offers the advantage of being stable in various cooking methods. This means it can be used in recipes that involve baking or high-temperature cooking without the risk of losing its taste or sweetness.

In conclusion, cyclamate is an effective and versatile sugar substitute with a wide range of applications, from beverages and desserts to baked goods and cooking. Its low-calorie and high sweetening power make it a popular choice for consumers seeking a healthier alternative to sugar.

Comparison with Other Sweeteners

Cyclamate is a synthetic, nonnutritive sweetener, available in the forms of calcium cyclamate or sodium cyclamate. It’s around 30 to 50 times sweeter than table sugar (sucrose) and was first discovered in 1937. Due to its heat stability, it is commonly used in baked goods and other food applications where other artificial sweeteners may not be suitable.

Regarding its sweetness intensity, cyclamate ranks lower than other artificial sweeteners like aspartame, acesulfame K, and sucralose. To give you a better idea of their relative sweetness, here’s a comparison using table sugar as the base (1):

  • Sucrose (Table sugar): 1
  • Sodium cyclamate: 50
  • Aspartame: 200
  • Acesulfame K: 200
  • Sodium saccharin: 300
  • Sucralose: 600
  • Neotame: 6,000

A significant difference between cyclamate and other sweeteners is the aftertaste. Cyclamate tends to leave an aftertaste, albeit less noticeable compared to saccharin, which can have a more pronounced metallic taste. Aspartame and sucralose generally result in a cleaner taste profile, making them more popular options in certain products.

It is important to note that, like other nonnutritive sweeteners, cyclamate provides no calories or nutritional benefits. Consequently, using such sweeteners can help lower calorie intake, especially for people trying to manage their weight or blood sugar levels. However, moderation is key, as excessive consumption of sweeteners may still have adverse health effects.

In conclusion, while cyclamate is less sweet compared to other artificial sweeteners and has some aftertaste, it is heat-stable, making it a suitable option for various food applications. The choice between cyclamate and other sweeteners ultimately depends on individual preferences, product requirements, and specific health considerations.

Regulation and Approval

Cyclamate is a high-intensity sweetener commonly used as a food additive in various products. Its widespread use and regulatory status varies across different countries, based on their respective food safety authorities.

In the United States, cyclamate and its derivatives are currently banned for use in food and beverages as per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations. However, a petition for the reapproval of cyclamate is under review by the FDA. On the other hand, Canada, Mexico, Australia, and South Korea are among the more than 100 countries where cyclamate is approved for use in food products.

In the European Union, cyclamate is approved for a variety of uses in foods, beverages, and tabletop sweeteners under Annex II of Regulation 1333/2008. It is often used alone or in combination with other low-calorie sweeteners such as aspartame, acesulfame K, and saccharin.

While the FDA determines the safety and appropriate use of high-intensity sweeteners in the United States, in other regions, their respective food safety organizations are responsible for assessing and approving such food additives. It is important to note that before any food additive is approved, it must undergo a thorough assessment to ensure its safety for human consumption.

In conclusion, cyclamate’s regulatory and approval status varies across countries, with some approving its use in food products and others maintaining a ban.

Safety and Health Concerns

Cyclamate is a synthetic artificial sweetener, discovered in 1937, that is 30 to 50 times sweeter than sugar. It is used as a nonnutritive sweetener in various food products and is known by the name E592. While concerns regarding cyclamate’s safety and health effects have been raised, it is important to consider the available scientific evidence.

The World Health Organization (WHO), along with the Food and Agriculture Organization, has conducted thorough evaluations of cyclamate’s potential health risks. Although cyclamate was banned in the United States in 1969 due to concerns regarding its carcinogenic potential, the ban was later reconsidered. Studies on rats and other animals showed that high doses of cyclamate could lead to the formation of bladder tumors. However, subsequent research and toxicological assessments have shown conflicting results, and the initial studies have been criticized for their methods.

In 1984, the National Academy of Sciences declared cyclamate as not being a potent carcinogen. Cyclamate has also been evaluated by the WHO’s Cancer Assessment Committee and has not been classified as a human carcinogen. It is important to note that the effects observed in animal studies might not always translate to humans, as the conditions and doses may not be directly comparable.

At the levels of exposure considered in recent assessments, cyclamate, specifically sodium cyclamate, and its metabolite, cyclohexylamine (CHA), have been determined to be not harmful to human health or the environment. The regulatory status of cyclamate varies across different countries, with some approving its use as a sweetener and others maintaining the ban.

In summary, while there have been concerns regarding the safety and health effects of cyclamate from animal studies and carcinogenic potential, more recent evaluations by respected organizations have generally concluded that cyclamate is not harmful to human health at the levels of exposure typically encountered in food products.

Studies and Controversies

Cyclamate, an odourless white crystalline powder, is used as a nonnutritive sweetener available in the form of calcium cyclamate or sodium cyclamate salts. In the past, concerns were raised about the safety and potential health risks associated with its consumption.

One notable controversy arose from a 1966 study, which claimed that cyclamate could produce cyclohexylamine through the action of intestinal bacteria. The substance was found to have toxic effects in animals and caused testicular atrophy in mice. In 1969, another study reported that cyclamate might increase the incidence of bladder cancer in rats, which led to cyclamate being banned in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the same year.

However, more recent studies have found that cyclamate is not carcinogenic. The evidence supporting its association with bladder cancer was heavily criticized due to flaws in study design and dosage levels. Consequently, the safety of cyclamate is being reevaluated.

In the European Union (EU), cyclamate has an acceptable daily intake (ADI) of 7 mg/kg body weight. The different regulatory guidelines in various regions suggest that further studies on cyclamate’s safety and potential health risks are still necessary.

Current Status and Future Prospects

Cyclamate, an odorless white crystalline powder, is a non-nutritive sweetener used in various food and beverage products. Since its discovery, cyclamate has been a topic of ongoing debate and regulatory scrutiny, particularly concerning its safety and impact on human health.

Today, cyclamate is approved for use in over 100 countries, although its status varies among regions. In Europe, it is widely used, while it is still banned in the United States since 1969, when concerns about its potential carcinogenic effects emerged. Meanwhile, there has been continuous research to establish its safety and expand its market globally.

In recent years, companies like Merisant and their brands, such as Assugrin and Sugar Twin, have been at the forefront of re-introducing cyclamate into new markets. To achieve this goal, they have been working with the Calorie Control Council, who submitted a petition to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for cyclamate’s reapproval. This petition includes extensive scientific research and studies supporting the safety and efficacy of cyclamate as a low-calorie sweetener.

The global cyclamate market outlook appears promising, with forecasts projecting strong growth in the coming years. According to research, the market is expected to grow substantially between 2022 and 2028, expanding its penetration across various applications and end-uses.

Presently, nitrogen assimilation in plants and the possibility of using patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are among the key areas of research in the cyclamate industry. These advancements can potentially lead to improved crop yields and a better understanding of molecular mechanisms, contributing to the industry’s prospects in the long run.

In closing, the current status and future prospects of cyclamate depend on ongoing research, regulatory developments, and the global market’s response to new findings. With the support of organizations and manufacturers, cyclamate may soon gain broader acceptance and become a preferred non-nutritive sweetener option for the food and beverage industry.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are cyclamates linked to cancer?

Cyclamates have been a subject of controversy in terms of cancer risk. Some animal studies conducted in the past suggested a connection between cyclamate consumption and bladder cancer. However, further research has not consistently shown a direct link between cyclamate and cancer in humans. It is important to maintain a balanced view and consume cyclamate within the recommended limits.

Why was cyclamate banned in the US?

Cyclamate was banned in the US in 1969 due to concerns arising from animal studies that suggested a potential connection to bladder cancer. Since then, it has remained banned, but in many other countries, cyclamate continues to be used as an artificial sweetener, with limits on daily intake levels.

Is cyclamate safe for diabetics?

Cyclamate is a non-nutritive sweetener, meaning it provides sweetness without the calories or carbohydrates that can impact blood sugar levels. Because of this, cyclamate can be considered an alternative sweetening option for diabetics, but it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional before making changes to your diet.

What are the uses of cyclamate?

Cyclamate is an artificial sweetener that is commonly used as a sugar substitute in various products, such as candies, chocolates, breakfast cereals, jellies, and baked goods. It is typically around 30 times sweeter than regular sugar and provides a low-calorie option for those seeking to reduce sugar consumption.

How does sodium cyclamate compare to aspartame?

Sodium cyclamate and aspartame are both artificial sweeteners used as sugar substitutes. Sodium cyclamate is about 30 times sweeter than sugar, while aspartame is approximately 200 times sweeter. Some people may prefer the taste of one sweetener over the other, but both provide a low-calorie option for sweetening food and beverages.

What are potential dangers of cyclamate?

Cyclamate has been a subject of controversy due to its potential connection to cancer, as suggested in some animal studies. Although no direct link has been definitively established, consumer concerns have persisted. It’s essential to use cyclamate within the recommended limits and be aware of any possible risk factors. Note that cyclamate remains banned in the US but is approved and used in other countries.