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:
CARBONATED WATER, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, CARAMEL COLOR, NATURAL FLAVOR, PHOSPHORIC ACID, SODIUM CITRATE, CAFFEINE, POTASSIUM SORBATE (PRESERVES FRESHNESS), ASPARTAME, CITRIC ACID, ACESULFAME POTASSIUM, SUCRALOSE.
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.
Here’s what the Fooducate grading and analysis for Pepsi Next looks like (web version):
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…