Not bad, Pepsi, not bad. But don’t expect to find it in your local supermarket just yet, because it’s only available in Japan.
Yesterday, Pepsi-Cola Japan’s sole distributor, Suntory, launched a fibre-infused Pepsi called “Pepsi Special”.
To make it more special, they used black and gold in the logo to convey “a sense of luxury”.
So why is it so special?
Well, that’s because it contains “indigestible dextrin,” something more commonly known as dietary fibre. Think of those Special K adverts where the lady rubs here belly… Yes, now you know what we mean. But this is synthetic fibre.
Suntory claims this helps reduce the amount of fat that’s absorbed into the body, and this naturally (excuse the pun) brings about the tagline of a “fat-blocking soda.”
Accordingly, Suntory also claims that the drink helps reduce the rise in triglycerides in the blood that normally follows a meal – in other words, you feel fuller after having one.
So, is there much truth in all of this? Probably not really, according to Dr Melina Jampolis, a physician nutrition specialist and CCNhealth expert.
She says it’s like “putting lipstick on a pig,” – soda is soda.
It’s true that naturally occurring soluble fibre that’s present in oats, barley, cruciferous vegetables and the stuff in seeds and the skin of apples does help block cholesterol absorption, but there’s no publicly available evidence suggesting that synthetic fibres do this too.
If you want to compare humans directly to rats, then a 2006 Japanese study conducted on rats found that rats fed dextrin absorbed less fat than rats who weren’t fed dextrin.
Another study, conducted in 2001 by the University of Washington, said adding dextrin to a beverage can increase levels of fullness, and thereby reduce energy intake in subsequent meals by about 72 calories. Which is nothing, really.
Pepsi can’t take credit though for unveiling the first soda with a weight-loss agenda. Kirin, known largely for its beers, debuted its own sugar-free, dextrin-containing cola in Japan earlier this year.
Like Kirin Mets Cola , Pepsi Special carries the government approved FOSHU symbol indicating that it contains an “ingredient with functions for health and [that it is] officially approved to claim its physiological effects on the human body.” According to the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare website, a FOSHU product “is intended to be consumed for the maintenance / promotion of health or special health uses by people who wish to control health conditions, including blood pressure or blood cholesterol.”
Still, the tongue-in-cheek ad on the Pepsi website featuring a businessman trying to chose between a woman in a pizza costume and another in a burger outfit, with the message being that you can have it all if you drink Pepsi Special, hints that even Pepsi is aware of the nonsense of its claims.
A spade, is still a spade.
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