Pepsi Next: The Worst of 2 Drinks, Combined into One

Pepsi Next

When we joked about the big cola companies removing 30% of the sugar from their soft drinks as an April Fool’s prank, some people responded in all seriousness, having spotted such a cola from Pepsi out in the wild. And indeed, Pepsi Next boasts a 60% reduction in sugar!

Could it be that we are on the cusp of a soft drink revolution?

What you need to know:

Here is Pepsi Next’s ingredient list:


Note that while sugar content has been reduced, it is still the second ingredient after water (in the form of high fructose corn syrup). There are still 4 teaspoons of sugar in a 12 ounce can!

True, about 6 teaspoons worth were removed. But unfortunately, Pepsi Next has simply replaced the missing sugar with artificial sweeteners, same as those used in its diet drink. And not just one or two, but a thoroughly sickening triumvirate including aspartame, acesulfame potassium, and sucralose.

Each of the three has its related health concerns, and artificial sweeteners in general mess with the body’s capability to deal with sweet. The dissociation between sweet taste and calorie intake may put the regulatory system that controls hunger and body weight out of sync, thus sabotaging weight loss plans. A study on rodents showed that those fed artificial sweeteners actually gained weight compared to rodents fed sucrose. For more, read Three Reasons to Rethink that Diet Coke You’re About to Drink.

Pepsi Next Ingredients

Here’s what the Fooducate grading and analysis for Pepsi Next looks like (web version):

Pepsi Next rated on Fooducate's web app

Pepsi Next rated on Fooducate's web app

What to do at the supermarket:

Don’t look for health when it comes to soft drinks, whether fully loaded with sugar, artificially sweetened, or this hybrid Next product. Switch to soda water infused with some fruit juice, then work your way to regular water. If you can make it, you’ll save your family $500 a year by switching to tap water…

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  • Ken Leebow

    The first ingredient is … 

    Want the pop and fizz that Coke/Pepsi give you without all the crap? Just drink CARBONATED WATER.

  • Sishorrock

    HFCS is sugar. Who are they trying to con?

    • Annoyed Anonymous

       They didn’t say they removed all of it, just 60% of it. And HFCS is still the first ingredient after water, doesn’t that tell you something extra :)

    • Anonymous

       It is a sweetener, but it is not beet or cane sugar.  And, it is more toxic than sugar.  But, more toxic than HFCS is Monsanto’s New Artificial Sweetener, Neotame, Labeled Organic.  It is a sham in more ways than one.

      • Jim

        There is absolutely NO EVIDENCE that HFCS is toxic. It is a mixture of common sugars found in fruits (fructose) and corn (glucose).
        And even the CSPI ranks neotame as safe.

        • Les

           Princeton researchers find that high-fructose corn syrup prompts considerably more weight gain

        • Les

           Princeton researchers find that high-fructose corn syrup prompts considerably more weight gain

          • Jim

            This work was pretty much discredited when it was discovered that the weight gain was statistically insignificant. Marian Nestle discussed this paper in detail in her foodpolitics blog when it came out.

          • Lesgold2002

             The presence of mercury in high fructose corn syrup was documented by researchers at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and published in Environmental Health.
            In some cases, the level of
             mercury was high enough that a woman
            eating an average amount of HFCS as represented in the American diet
            could ingest more than five times the maximum recommended upper limit of

            The bottom line? If you love eating a highly-refined
            liquid sugar made with the use of hazardous chemicals and often
            contaminated with brain-damaging mercury, eat more high fructose corn syrup! more:

          • Jim

            The report on mercury in HFCS has also been discredited. It was carried out by an undergraduate and never repeated. It turns out that the amount of mercury found is the amount expected to occur naturally.

        • Jim is lame

          Get a life. It’s pretty obvious that you have some sort of personal investment in Pepsi. No one is being influenced by your annoying comments.

          • Jim Cooper

            Sorry. I don’t even LIKE Pepsi. But I am influenced by good peer-reviewed science, and there are no papers showing that HFCS is toxic.

        • canonshooter

          Jim, there is TONS of evidence over the years of the toxicity to the human body of artificial sweeteners. Anyone claiming the opposite is just ignorant or blinded by propaganda from the industrial food companies (or part of it). All this evidence was squashed then aspartame was approved by the FDA. Anyone who thinks that the FDA is looking after the health of the American consumer is a fool. The FDA is just an extension of the food industry.

          HFCS is metabolized by the liver which just puts an un-needed load on it. Not to mention the fact that it’s been shows to increase intra-abdominal fat, the kind that embeds itself between tissues in organs. It’s also been shows to decrease sensitivity to insulin, the hormone that controls blood sugar, and elevate levels of fat in the blood as well as increased fat production in the liver, elevated “bad” cholesterol and larger increases in blood triglycerides. Plus, HFCS in the United States is made from genetically modified corn. GMO foods have been show to cause all sorts of negative symptoms in laboratory rats such as reduced fertility.

          It is so obvious that you’re just a plant for the food industry trying to lead people away from the fact that their products are bad, bad, bad for their health. It’s no coincidence that the rise in obesity in the US coincides with the introduction of HFCS into the food system.

          • Jim Cooper

            Generally making personal attacks is not the best way to win an argument. I would be better to cite actual peer-reviewed research supporting all the claims you have made. I am not aware of any such papers, and would be interested to read them.

            Sad to say, no one is paying me to express my views.

  • Jim

    Well after that april fools joke unfortunately I can’t take anything serious on this site. To bad because I found it to be a good tool to find the truth.

    • TMC

      sheesh, lighten up.

    • Dudsmilk3

      You are a tool.

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  • Kate

    A D- seems high — what’s it take toget an F?

    • Fooducate

      The lowest grade on Fooducate is D. No Fs here.

      • Lauren

        need to start giving Fs, D says “not failing yet”

        • Fooducate

          We’re philosophically against giving anything an F. Maybe because some of our grandparents barely survived famine in their youth. 

          If something can fill your tummy and keep you from going to bed hungry at night, no matter how unhealthy it is, it won’t get an F on Fooducate.

          Conversely, the highest grade is A, not A+. You want an A+ food? Grow it in your backyard…

  • Lauren

    I always say choosing between regular and diet soda is like death by lethal injection or the electric chair, now we combine the two? Only a soda company could make a product this revolting and call it “improved”.

    • JHYCHA


  • Jim

    This is a ridiculous series of claims. There is no evidence that artificial sweeteners increase obesity, quite the contrary. See for my rebuttal. None of the sweeteners you mention have been shown to be dangerous either!

    • Annoyed Anonymous

      It isn’t dangerous when your body gives you constant headaches and nausea from drinking *water* sweetened with only–guess what–aspartame when it’s the only change you made in your diet? You are living on a different planet.

      • Simple Answers

         You probably are annoyed from the stress of having to use shit for brains. I know your ignorance annoys the living shit out of us. Why don’t you wise up, open a real book and learn the difference between the real world and this dumbassed pretend world at stupid fucking Fooducate. Consuming the opinionated misinformation on this asswipe of a blog will rot your brain to semi-liquid shit. That is why you are annoyed, dipshit.

        • Amy Reynaldo

          Who takes potty-mouthed trolls seriously?

          • Evil Unicorn

            Amy, you are a douche.

    • Dudsmilk3

      They have ABSOLUTELY been shown to be dangerous. Many artificial sweeteners are banned in many countries because of links to cancer and obesity. Get your facts straight before posting.

    • Chester The Bear

      Actually, there is considerable evidence that artificial sweeteners contribute to obesity, and the mechanism is well understood. Artificial sweeteners elicit an insulin response. In the case of sucralose, it is greater than for sugar, and in the case of aspartame, it is slightly less. The difference is that after sugar, the insulin peaks after about an hour, and then returns to pre sugar levels three hours later. After the artificial sweeteners, the insulin peaks at about two hours, then stays up. In all of the studies, it had not returned to anywhere near pre sweetener levels after four hours. One of insulin’s jobs, of course, is to lay down fat.

      • JamesCooper

        I’d appreciate links to these studies.

        • shloime

          try reading “why we get fat” by gary taubes for a good overview of insulin and obesity.

  • Amy Reynaldo

    I’ve become skeptical of every product that boasts “less sugar.” Instant oatmeal, granola bars, applesauce–I’ve seen all of these in “less sugar” formulations that aren’t any less sweet because they add sucralose and other sweeteners. It’s sneaky to lure buyers who want less sugar while hiding the added artificial sweeteners in the fine-print ingredients list.

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  • bob

    Ok i just saw on facebook that pepsi next has cells from abored babies in it. I dont think its true but has anyone else heard this

    • Anonymous

       totally true.

    • Jim

      No, this is absolute nonsense. Pepsi contracted with a firm to produce various artificial flavors for their snack products. Some of the compounds were created use stem cells.  But see
      for a complete rebuttal.

  • Jonathan_parsons45

    I stopped chewing gum because it contain the deadly chemical Aspartame, there is no way i will pick up this soft drink that contains it as well!!!!

    • Jim

      There is simply no scientific evidence that aspartame is a “deadly chemical.”

      • Jas

        I get a nasty bout every time I use aspartame.  Consistently.

        • Jas

          of diarhea

          • Frank Fontana

            It can be harmful – maybe not if its drank occasionally, but ingested small frequent amounts over a life time, can be dangerous. 

        • Jim

          You may have a rare allergic reaction, or it may be something else causing it. There do not seem to be any double blind studies supporting the idea that aspartame itself causes such reaction. You probably should see an allergist.

          • BC

            So, Jim, since you’re so critical and skeptical, you must be batting for the other side… Are you an employe at Pepsi or Aspartame or something of that nature?! It’s sad how you won’t listen to fact, but just go by your ego and stance of not wanting to seem “wrong” Not a way to have a constructive discussion.. First of all, the Body is very smart and it’s own intuitive guard. No scientific study needs to prove that at all. Aspartame does taste terrible, a chemical taste. Simple science and nutrition, body and taste buds will tell a person what is good for them. And body does not like chemicals. We are not machines, we were not made to ingest chemicals. A Doctor had a patient with severe manic depression. He examined, questioned, and diagnosed her as much as he could. Then, he suggested she go off the few bottles of Diet Soda she ingested every day, Depression Completely vanished. The numerous studies show the dangerous side effects of these aartificial sweetners. Body likes nature. Go with Stevia herbal sweetener!

          • Evil Unicorn

            ya cayate, pinche cabron “sabelotodo” STFU.

      • Chester The Bear

        Seriously? Jim, there have been around 140 studies into the safety of Aspartame. Of those, around 70 found it to be “safe or probably safe”. All of those studies were sponsored by the food industry. Around 70 wre funded independently, and all found aspartame to be “unsafe or probably unsafe”.
        It is just a pity that the process through which it was approved for human consumption was so corrupted.
        But if you’re happy drinking it…

      • Jim is dumb

        Why do you think they have to put it in bold letters?

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  • Jer

    I was actually excited about this product.  I thought…cola taste, just less sweet taste.  I want a less sweet taste!  So do many people.    When will they just cut the sugar (how about good old cane sugar), then leave it at that.  Everything we eat and drink does not have to taste like cotton candy.

    • Paul

      replacing high fructose corn syrup with cane sugar isn’t much better. Most sodas with cane sugar taste SWEETER. Still very high in sugar. If you want to reduce sugar content in soda, and save yourself money in the long run, make your own soda. Plus, there’s “Zevia” out there, which is a soda made with stevia, an all-natural sweetener, and all natural ingredients.

      • JHYCHA


  • Harry

    Aspartame METABOLIZES into formaldehyde and other carcinogens in the body.  In general, yes it’s derived from a synthetic version of an amino acid but it becomes a different animal once ingested.  On top of that, studies have shown that artificial sweeteners actually increase the desire for sweets even more than sugared drinks because they cause a similar insulin response without any sugars to process so they stay in the blood.  HFCS isn’t regular corn syrup but created from a hybrid GM corn plant that you can’t even eat!  In addition to all of that, HFCS is commercially produced in vats that are known to leech heavy metals into it such as mercury.
    People consumed soft drinks for centuries and they were usually cane sugar, some kind of flavoring and carbonated water and were just fine.  Now look at the general health of those who consume sodas made with artificial ingredients.

    If you really think these substances are safe…think again.

    • Jim

      Most of these claims are simply myths. There are no such studies. HFCS is a mixture of 2 pure compounds and it really does not matter where they are obtained: they are still pure compounds. The mercury myth was disproves years ago: it was based on some sloppy undergraduate work and the amount of mercury found is the same as would be found naturally. I refuted most of these claims in this article: and here

    • Shilpa

      Thank you Harry!!! Very well explained.

      • Macroscopic debris

        You shouldn’t thank people for erroneous exposition.

    • Adrian Stubbs

      from a wiki but you can check the facts in the links:
      The methanol produced by the metabolism of aspartame is absorbed and quickly converted into formaldehyde and then completely converted to formic acid, which, due to its long half life, is considered the primary mechanism of toxicity in methanol poisoning.
      The methanol from aspartame is unlikely to be a safety concern for
      several reasons. The amount of methanol in aspartame is less than that
      found in fruit juices and citrus fruits, and there are other dietary
      sources for methanol such as fermented
      beverages. Therefore, the amount of methanol produced from aspartame is
      likely to be less than that from natural sources. With regards to
      formaldehyde, it is rapidly converted in the body, and the amounts of
      formaldehyde from the metabolism of aspartame is trivial when compared
      to the amounts produced routinely by the human body and from other foods
      and drugs. At the highest expected human doses of consumption of
      aspartame, there is no increased blood levels of methanol or formic
      acid, and ingesting aspartame at the 90th percentile of intake would produce 25 times less methanol than would be considered toxic.

      Lets face it, Aspartame tastes foul.  I think a cola made with 60% less sugar would be pretty popular… hopefully with a nice tasty sugar like cane-sugar.

    • shloime

      “People consumed soft drinks for centuries” – eh? maybe just a little exaggerated? carbonated beverages came into fashion in the latter half of the 19th century, as did “coca cola”, made with real coca.

      as in real. keep it real.

  • Buysell8101

    lol!!!! But it is sooooo attractive with that goooood marketing business…

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  • Plbeers

    This would be a good substitute to regular or diet soda if they would have actually substituted the aspartame and high fructose corn syrup with an alternative like truvia or Splenda type product that reduces the calories without causing diareah and has not been removed from the shelves in all of the civilized world except the USA who lives to treat the ill health that it creates by its added goodness to the foods to make them safer for long term storage and beauty in the market place.

  • Asianchink435

    Diet Pepsi taste better than this anyways! Humph

  • JoAnna

    Years ago the Coca Cola Co. introduced a cola with less sugar…cannot recall the name. The reduced sugar was NOT replaced by artificial sweeteners & it tasted GREAT. The product was not popular & eventually disappeared. I agree with Jer…reduce the sickening quantity of sugar & the result will be a refreshing soda.  

  • Dethroned2012

    I would really like some info on the bitter blockers used in this new product from pepsi

  • c kirby

    I thought Pepsi would be smarter than to add Aspartame to this drink…Not a good move Pepsi…

    • Jim

      Why? It is not harmful.

      • Imacoolguy2k

        I agree with c kirby.  My answer to your “why” question, Jim, is that Aspartame just tastes like crap.

  • Jmck382

    hardly anyone cares that pepsi next is just water and a bunch of poision chemicals. The food production companies are killing millions of americans and no one really calls them on the carpet for it.

  • Hont223

    Switch to Throwback Pepsi.  Lots of calories without the bloating and Diarrhea you get from the HFCS laced Pepsi’s.  Once you drink the Throwbacks for awhile you will not tolerate the taste of regular Pepsi.  You will buy it exclusively.  Natural sugar is the way to go.

    • Jim

      There is simply no evidence that HFCS causes any such symptoms. It is still just a mixture of glucose and fructose.
      Pepsi Throwback actually has a different taste, probably because it seems to have more cinnamon added. See

      • Joint Specialist

        There is simply no evidence that Jim is some sort of authority on the dangers of artificial sweeteners.

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  • Sally warnock

    I’ve been free of artificial sweeteners for about a week, but missing the soda.
    I was just about to try this when my husband came across you article. THANK YOU so much

  • Sally warnock

    I’ve been free of artificial sweeteners for about a week, but missing the soda.
    I was just about to try this when my husband came across you article. THANK YOU so much

    • Jim

      There is no reason to stop drinking diet soda. There is simply no scientific evidence that it is harmful.

      • Chester The Bear

        Ah Jim, Jim, Jim… There is overwhelming evidence, going right back to the suspect safety trials that were originally rejected by the FDA. Indeed, the only way it was approved at all was through smoke and mirrors; a trick of regulation that stopped the FDA from enforcing its order that safety trials be repeated.
        Sadly, that hasn’t stopped the claims that “there is no evidence that it is harmful”. I’m sorry Jim, but this just isn’t the truth.

      • shloime

        drinking ANY excessively sweet beverage on a regular basis is bad for you. and now that there is an obesity epidemic in the developed world, we can see the results.

  • Beggindog

    One might deduce that Jim has stock in Equal 

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    Well maybe all yall should research yall’s pepsi product better cuz they r usin baby fetal from abortions to flavor their product….SO HOW MANY BABIES HAVE U DRANK TODAY and if u dont believe me google pepsi soylent

  • Iamcolleen

    I tried it - and could taste the aspartame! what a disappointment. Just take sugar out – PERIOD – thank you very much

  • Nathan

    I can’t think of one decent soda that was made to be healthy. Of course there’s going to be a lot of crap in this, it’s a Pepsi product; this also goes for Coke and Dr. Pepper products, mind you. What I’m trying to get at is that you can’t be ripping on a product for something it was never intended to be. Pepsi Next is supposed to be better for you than your standard Pepsi, which–in moderation–it is. Yes, there’s a lot of awful stuff in Pepsi Next, but it’s not like anyone should be drinking soda constantly. Basically anything but pure water can boast a health risk. 
    And I think it’s pretty obvious pure drinking water is your best choice. Just saying.

  • me

    I was hoping a soda company would reduce their sugar content by half. I won’t consume poison chemicals that call themselves “diet” and can’t drink regular unless I cut it with half club soda or seltzer. Jim, you are boring so don’t bother to add your redundant comments here. Perhaps you work for one of these companies and don’t want sales to go down.

  • Joint Specialist

    Switching to tap water?! While it is probably less toxic than Pepsi Next in most locations, it is certainly not worth recommending. The chlorine and fluoride in tap water should be avoided as well.

    • James Cooper

      No evidence for harm from either in the concentrations in tap water.

      • Joint Specialist

        Would YOU drink swimming pool water? Because that’s how high the chlorine levels (3ppm) are in my tap water, even higher in the summer.

        • shloime

          i live in a civilized city, with very good tap water. the chlorine is removed before it leaves the treatment plant.

      • Joint Specialist

        Too bad there is no evidence that James Cooper is an actual troll. That would be worth seeing!

    • shloime

      is fluoride harmful?

  • James

    You mean tap water with fluoride in it? Decent article until that last line.

    • BC

      Ya, James, exactly what I thought, and 7 years ago in my county in the bay area, calfiornia, they switched from chlorine water treatment to chloramine , because it’s cheaper! Chlorine + Ammonia , hence Chloramine! I did not know this when I moved to the county, I started drinking the tap water, had coughs, fatigue, and respiratory allergies, then a Citiizen’s group educated me, I switched to filtered water, and was fine! Brita filters do not remove chloramines, only expensive water filters installed in house. An independent study by a USA university partnering with a Japanese org found chloramine linked to pet and human digestive issues, cancers, allergies, etc. Pure, running, clean spring water from a safe water source is best, fresh, live with minerals from rocks, next best is filtered water. Here’s to prayers to cleanse all Mother Earth’s oceans!

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  • Kodiak8

    If you get vertigo or dizzy or many other things happening check out your diet stuff for aspartame aka sucralose it’s some nasty stuff and can really mess you up.

  • GZed

    This article is a joke. Pepsi Next is sweetened with only Sugar and Stevia, which is natural sweetener extracted from the Stevia plant. There is absolutely NO artificial sweetener in Pepsi Next. Get your facts straight before you publish rubbish like this.

    • shloime

      and why is a huge dose of sugar, natural, artificial, or extraterrestrial, good for you?! i use half a teaspoon of sugar, about 3 grams, in a large (600 ml) coffee, do why do soft drink makers need to put 5-10 times as much in a cola?

  • GZed

    OK, I was partly wrong. Pepsi Next is only 100% Naturally sweetened here in Australia. Our cans say “30% less sugar, sweetened naturally with Stevia Plant”. Apparently this is not the case in the US where Pepsi Next is 60% less sugar and does contain Aspartame. What a shame for you non-Australia. Pepsi Next is my favourite soft drink at the moment (other than filtered water, which I drink mostly). I use Stevia in my Coffee too.

  • Ann

    I am looking at a pepsi next label and do not see any of these ingredients listed POTASSIUM SORBATE (PRESERVES FRESHNESS),ASPARTAME, CITRIC ACID, ACESULFAME POTASSIUM, SUCRALOSE.

  • sami

    reading the box right now:

    carbonated water,sugar,caramel colour,phosphoric acid,natural flovor and STEVIA extract
    not ASPARTAME as you claim. box is right in front of me as i type

    • Sam al

      Yeah, the Canadian one only. The US one has artificial sweeteners. Don’t know why!

      • JHYCHA


  • mick l

    the facts are soda is a very healthy choice as long as you dont exceed 10 cans a day you will be fine…i even add a couple tea spoons of sugar to my soda for that extra kick that makes me feel so good

  • Reagan Podelec

    Thumbs down… What about using xylitol? Naturally derived sugar from bamboo?

    • shloime

      drinking sugar in LARGE quantities is bad for you. it leads to obesity and diabetes. not because of calories, but insulin. and sweeteners, all of them, trigger an insulin rush, messing up your body.

  • Sam al

    this is false…I just bought a can of pepsi next and the ingredients written on the can are completely different than what I see on this picture. Mine had Stavia Extract and no Aspartame or phenylalanine or any sugar derivative whatsoever. They just replaced sugar with Stavia.

    • Sam al

      Ok..apparently only the Canadian version has Stavia. The US Pepsi next uses artificial sweeteners…go figure why

      • shloime

        and stevia is not an artificial sweetener? rotflmao.

        you’re a sugar addict, and you just can’t kick the habit.

        • Sam al

          hmm…Stevia is actually a natural sweetener. It comes from a plant with the same name.

      • JHYCHA


  • Regained Wellness

    it’s interesting how the formula varies per market, Here in Canada they have removed the HFCS and are using sugar. Obviously still an issue but i’d rather have sugar processed in my body than fructose and the aspartame has been replaced by stevia. FAR from perfect but wonder why it is not a similar product in all markets?

  • mywordisfinal

    Everything in moderation.