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Friday, April 24, 2015

Pepsi is one of the most famous soda brands in the world, but they recently announced that they will be making a major change to their recipe.

They have decided to change the sweetener they use for Diet Pepsi to Splenda instead of their old brand. This news comes as Americans continue to ditch diet sodas, with sales going down for most brands last year. Coke and Pepsi both blame this decrease in sales on reports that say aspartame is not safe. They say the Food and Drug Association says there are over 100 studies that show it is indeed safe.

“To Diet Pepsi consumers, removing aspartame is their number one concern,” said Seth Kaufman, senior vice president of Pepsi, according to The Blaze. “We’re listening to consumers. It’s what they want.”

The American Cancer Society corroborated this on their website:

In the body, aspartame is broken down into phenylalanine, aspartic acid, and methanol. Methanol can be toxic in high amounts, but the amounts that result from the breakdown of aspartame is lower than with many “natural” foods. For example, drinking a liter of diet soda would lead to consumption of 55 milligrams (mg) of methanol, as compared to as much as 680 mg of methanol from a liter of fruit juice.

Phenylalanine and aspartic acid are amino acids and are naturally present in many foods that contain protein. They do not cause health problems in most people. However people with the disease phenylketonuria (discussed in more detail later on) need to restrict their intake of phenylalanine, and so are usually counseled to avoid aspartame.

They added that “most studies in people have not found that aspartame use is linked to an increased risk of cancer.”

However, others have pointed out that there are indeed dangerous side effects of diet sodas.

“The jump from aspartame to sucralose is just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic,” Gary Ruskin, executive director of U.S. Right to Know said in a statement.  “The bigger problem is that PepsiCo is selling a product as ‘diet” that may well cause weight gain. They didn’t solve that problem.”

Ruskin’s group has launched a campaign in the hopes of getting the Federal Trade Commission and the FDA to stop soda brands from using the word “diet” in their advertising.

“We have asked the FTC and FDA to shut down what appears to be a consumer fraud,” Ruskin said of the group, which cites studies that suggest artificial sweeteners can contribute to weight gain.  “We’re hopeful they will stand with consumers and do the right thing.”

What do you think about this? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

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