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The tragic death of a ten-year-old girl in Punjab’s Patiala in March shook the entire nation. The girl passed away after eating a cake that her family had ordered for her birthday. The girl’s entire family fell ill after consuming a chocolate cake purchased online from a bakery for her birthday.
Now, a new revelation in this case has raised several questions on the quality of the food we are consuming.
As per a report, the cake contained a high amount of saccharine, a sweet-tasting systematic compound. Usually, a small amount of saccharine is used in eatables and drinks, but high levels can quickly increase one’s blood glucose levels.
A sample of the cake was collected for testing and the report shows a high amount of saccharine, a sweet-tasting synthetic compound, was used to cook it, District Health Officer, DHO Dr Vijay Jindal told NDTV.
Officials said action will taken against the bakery as an FIR has already been filed against its owner. After the incident, food ordering app Zomato banned the bakery owner and also delisted the bakery from its platform.
What is saccharine?
Saccharine is a synthetic sweetener that was discovered in 1879 by Constantin Fahlberg, a chemist working at Johns Hopkins University. It is around 300 to 400 times sweeter than sucrose (table sugar) but contains no calories, making it popular as a sugar substitute in various foods and beverages. Saccharine gained widespread use during sugar shortages in the early 20th century and became a common ingredient in diet sodas, tabletop sweeteners, and other low-calorie products.
While saccharine is approved for use as a food additive in many countries, concerns have been raised regarding its potentially harmful effects on the body. One major concern is its association with bladder cancer, particularly in animal studies. Although these findings have not been consistently replicated in humans, some studies suggest a possible link between high saccharine intake and an increased risk of bladder cancer, especially in individuals who consume large amounts over a prolonged period.

Furthermore, saccharine may disrupt the balance of gut bacteria, leading to adverse effects on digestive health. Some research suggests that artificial sweeteners like saccharine could alter gut microbiota composition, potentially contributing to metabolic disorders such as obesity and insulin resistance.
Additionally, saccharine may have a laxative effect in some individuals, leading to gastrointestinal discomfort and diarrhea when consumed in excess.
While regulatory agencies have deemed saccharine safe for consumption within acceptable daily intake limits, individuals with certain health conditions or concerns about its potential effects may choose to limit their intake or opt for alternative sweeteners. As with any food additive, moderation is key, and individuals should consider their overall diet and health status when consuming products containing saccharine.

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(With inputs from IANS)

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