Wouldn’t it be great if there was a healthy soda that would keep your body from absorbing the fat in a deliciously oil-drenched dinner? Pepsi and Suntory, the sole bottler and distributor of Pepsi goods in Japan, have collaborated to bring just that—a “healthy soda”—to the island country beginning November 13th of this year. Yes, PepsiCo, the mega corporation that has contributed millions of dollars to go against GMO labeling bill Proposition 37, is claiming to offer the world a healthful beverage.
While it is true that Pepsi Special contains an indigestible form of dextrin that makes it difficult for the body to absorb fat, both Pepsi and Suntory are missing the point: fat isn’t the sole enemy to our health.
Soda and Sugary Drinks Linked to Serious Illnesses
Because Pepsi Special appeals to consumers watching their weight, it will likely be sweetened artificially. Consumption of artificially sweetened sodas is known to alter metabolism, while the most popular artificial sweetener, Aspartame, has also been accused of prompting numerous health complications including brain tumors. Diet soda cannot fool the body without detriment. The tongue and brain taste sweetness but the body doesn’t receive calories from sugar, thereby affecting insulin and putting consumers at risk of diabetes and other conditions like obesity, heart attack, stroke, and kidney problems.
Related Read: Is diet soda bad for you?
Another popular ingredient in soda, high fructose corn syrup often contains the carcinogen mercury, a concern for groups like The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy which has demanded FDA action (to little avail, of course). Because many children consume sodas—and big corporations target children with advertisements—these little ingredients could have big consequences, especially taking into consideration the myriad other bad habits we foster in modern living like lack of exercise, stress, poor sleep, and the like.
Even sodas flavored with real sugar will do the body no favors, as sugar is highly inflammatory and may contribute to a plethora of conditions caused by chronic inflammation, like cancer, dementia, and heart disease.
No Cheating our Way to Weight Loss
From aspartame to mercury, there are worse things on a nutrition label than calories, a point that both the Japanese and American population at large are missing. Both countries have booming diet product industries as well as burgeoning waistlines thanks to a switch to the western diet—not a coincidence, since 8 out of 10 diets fail.
Although Japan is trailing behind the United States in regards to obesity, it places second behind Americans in deaths caused by eating disorders like anorexia. How are any of us supposed to look like runway models when surrounded by tantalizing, addictive foods? The urge to reach for a magic formula—like Pepsi Special—is nothing less than natural.
But the matter is this: the body cannot be fooled by clever artifices like aspartame and dextrin without long-term harm. All Pepsi Special and related “health products” are doing is perpetuating the illusion that we can have our cake and eat it, too. Weight loss based on products rather than healthy habits—a good diet, moderate exercise, and healthy attitudes—are doomed to fail.
But apparently not in the market.