A New Version of Pepsi in Japan: Is it Really a Health Drink?
When most people who are dieting or simply watching their weight think about their menus, they often think about the foods and drinks that must be avoided, and soda is frequently one of the first items to be eliminated, due to its high sugar content and lack of nutrition. This may not be the case for health conscious Japanese individuals, however, as Pepsi has recently introduced its newest, “healthier” version of the sugary carbonated drink, which they’re referring to as “Pepsi Special.” This new reduced calorie version of Pepsi reportedly has fat-blocking capabilities due to the addition of Dextrin, which is dietary fiber that also keeps glucose levels stable and contributes to the prevention of heart disease. As many people already know, dietary fiber is essential optimal health, but does adding imitation fiber to an unhealthy drink suddenly transform it to a health drink? Japanese government officials obviously seem to believe so since the label of Pepsi Special contains a seal of approval to be used as a “food for specified health uses”, but it is really?
Despite the fact that the Japanese government believes that this new soda is a healthier version of its sugary predecessor due to the supplementation of the “miracle” ingredient dextrin, the United States government is not so easily convinced. U.S. government officials have stated that Pepsi is Pepsi, even if a relatively healthy ingredient is added to it. The addition of fiber just isn’t enough to erase the other less healthy ingredients in the soda, including the phosphoric acid, high fructose corn syrup and sugar. With various studies linking high fructose corn syrup to metabolic concerns, the addition of this particular ingredient may actually thwart a person’s weight loss efforts, rendering the dextrin ineffective. Additionally, various clinical studies have shown that phosphoric acid, the ingredient that gives soda its sharp taste and retards the growth of mold and bacteria, has been shown to lower bone density in some individuals. So in actuality, Pepsi Special could possibly lead individuals to damage their health instead of deriving some type of health benefit from consuming this unique soda. It is probably a lot more sensible to consume foods that contain indigestible (insoluble) fiber naturally, such as beans, seeds and nuts.
There haven’t been many published reviews on the actual effectiveness of this new Pepsi product, which is probably due to the fact that not enough time has lapsed since its debut. A similar product that was released prior to Pepsi Special, Kirin Mets Cola, also contains dextrin and is approved by the Japanese government as being a “food for specified health uses”, like Pepsi Special. A study was conducted on Kirin Mets Cola, and it was proven that the dietary fiber in the cola did in fact prevent study participants from absorbing the full amount of the fat in the foods that were consumed while drinking the soda. However, if a person chooses to consume huge amounts of fat-containing foods, the small amount of fat absorbing properties that Kirin Mets Cola or even Pepsi Special produce will do very little to make much of a difference and the individual will likely gain weight.
Pepsi has never been and probably never will be considered a true health drink considering its traditional ingredients like phosphoric acid, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, etc. Despite this fact, it has not stopped Pepsi Cola and other soda manufacturers from attempting to create seemingly healthier versions of their drinks in order to meet the needs of the growing amounts of health conscious consumers. Pepsi Cola and the various other soda creators are also on constant quests to meet the regulations of the government in various countries who consider Pepsi and similar drinks to be possible health risks. So for the people in Japan that choose to drink Pepsi Special as a way to “have their soda and drink it too”, they may be able to reduce their fat absorption while simultaneously keeping their calories low simply by adding this new modified version of the popular soda to their diets—or not.