Bad science, sweet results

Constantin Fahlberg was a really lucky chemist. One day in 1878, he left his lab and went to directly dinner without washing his hands and discovered that his dinner was really sweet, including his napkin. In his words
"It flashed on me that I was the cause of the singular universal sweetness, and I accordingly tasted the end of my thumb, and found it surpassed any confectionery I had ever eaten. I saw the whole thing at once. I had discovered some coal tar substance which out-sugared sugar. I dropped my dinner, and ran back to the laboratory. There, in my excitement, I tasted the contents of every beaker and evaporating dish on the table."

Poor lab hygiene and reckless endangerment led to the discovery of saccharin, and a company that made a fortune putting the sweetener into sodas without telling anyone. When public outcry over food quality resulted in regulation, Teddy Roosevelt kept saccharin on the approved list because of his own dieting experience with the substance. It took almost 100 years before science decided that he has right, there is no indication that saccharine is unsafe. In light of obesity and diabetes rates today, it's ironic to read about how NOT having sugar in food was thought to be unhealthy. Maybe 100 years from now, someone will think that subsidizing pizza and fries in school lunches was actually reasonable.