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    Archive for the ‘Diet Coke Plus’ Category

    FNCE 2008: Diet Coke and Splenda Drop The F Bomb

    Fiber and whole grains were undisputed royalty at this year’s American Dietetic Association Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo.

    Cereals, corn chips, crackers, cookies, and protein powders breathlessly advertised their inclusion in ingredient lists.

    I certainly was not expecting, however, to come across fiber in Splenda and Diet Coke.

    The Splenda folks — who, oddly enough, suggest sprinkling their non-caloric sweetener over fresh fruit — are making the case that this is one easy way for Americans (who are currently getting, on average, half of their recommended fiber intake) to boost their fiber consumption.

    With each packet containing 1 gram of fiber, two packets in your morning coffee and another over your breakfast cereal puts you at the 3 gram mark (as much as an apple, they exclaim.)

    Coca Cola, meanwhile, will be releasing Diet Coke Plus With Fiber around March or April of 2010.

    Apart from the vitamin and mineral combination found in Diet Coke Plus, this beverage will contain 5 grams of soluble fiber (all derived from corn) per 20 ounce bottle.

    Splenda and Coca Cola have their marketing pitch perfected.

    “We’re simply helping people get the amount of fiber they need!” they explain (with puppy dog eyes, I’m sure.)

    I’m not as optimistic.

    While the idea of including fiber in Diet Coke may appeal to some people, it serves as a complete deterrent to get it from unprocessed, whole foods that offer multitudes of other nutrients, phytochemicals, and health benefits.

    As much as Splenda wants to make the case that three packets of their sweetener contain as much fiber as an apple, it’s a meaningless comparison.

    An apple is more than just fiber in a round shape.

    It contains vitamin C, potassium, and a significant number of antioxidants, among them quercetin and epicatechin (the former has been associated with reduced cellular damage, the latter with improved blood flow.)

    By relying on fortified empty calorie foods for specific nutrients, you are missing out on hundreds of health-promoting components.

    What’s most mind-boggling to me is that these products give the false idea that fiber is just so gosh darn hard to find, that there’s no choice but to stick it inside a soda bottle.

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    Administrative Announcements: Chicago Update

    Whew! I am absolutely exhausted.

    I have just spent four and a half hours at the 2008 American Dietetic Association Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo visting hundreds of stands from a variety of companies.

    I should mention that I am also lugging around forty pounds of food samples. Yes, forty pounds.

    The samples range from individual size bags of walnuts to a pound of Barilla Plus pasta to a new line of alternative potato chips from a company by the name of Brothers All Natural.

    I have LOTS to blog about when I return to New York City late Monday evening.

    There is, however, one little tidbit I must share with you right now.

    Guess what the buzz was at the Coca Cola booth? None other than their new variety of Diet Coke set to be released in 2010 — Diet Coke Plus with Fiber!

    That’s right — 5 grams of soluble corn fiber per 20 ounce bottle. Oy.

    Although the product will not be released for another year and a half, they had tasting samples. Taste wise, it is the exact same as a non-fortified Diet Coke.

    I will detail my issues with adding fiber to Diet Coke in a future posting.

    Oh, did I mention that the high fructose corn syrup folks also had a stand here? Wait until I tell you about THEIR “educational materials.”

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    Soda 911

    After much buzz, Pepsi has finally launched Tava, its new “vitamin enhanced” calorie and caffeine-free sparkling beverage drink, largely aimed at the female 35 – 49 demographic.

    A lot of money and effort has been dedicated to Tava.

    It’s no surprise. Over the past two years, soda sales have been slipping.

    Consumers are instead reaching for just as sugary, but healthier sounding beverages like Vitamin Water or artifically sweetened drinks in fancy glass bottles containing trendy fruits like pomegranate and acai.

    Not surprisingly, soda companies are fighting back, no-holds-barred style.

    The New York Times recently profiled Tava’s alternative marketing strategybypassing traditional media and instead focusing on online advertising and music and art festivals in certain states (among them Colorado, New York, Washington, Florida, and Utah).

    Pepsi definitely spent a lot of time — and money — dressing up what is basically flavored sparkling water and aspartame with with lots of pretty accesories.

    First we have the vitamin factor, clearly thrown in to compete with Diet Coke Plus.

    Tava offers 10 percent of the daily requirement of Vitamins E, B2 (riboflavin), B6 (pyridoxine), and a trace mineral known as chromium.

    What’s the chromium fortification all about? Personally, I think it’s just part of the “exotification” of Tava.

    Don’t get me wrong; chromium is an important mineral. It teams up with insulin to help cells take up glucose and thereby maintain blood sugar levels.

    Some recent research also suggests possible links between chromium and heart health.

    The good news is that chromium is easily available from whole grains, vegetables, raisins, legumes, nuts, chicken, seafood, and dairy.

    Since it is found in many foods and a trace mineral, chromium deficiency is extremely rare.

    It is mainly seen in hospital patients on tube feedings, pregnant women, and people whose diets are very high in processed foods.

    People eating a variety of foods do not need further supplementation.

    Then there’s the three flavors.

    We’re treated to “exotic” names like Mediterranean Fiesta (black cherry citrus), Brazilian Samba (passion fruit lime), and Tahitian Tamure (tropical berry).

    In an attempt to class up the joint, Tava’s website offers “suggested food pairings” for all its drinks.

    For instance, if you’re sipping on Mediterranean Fiesta, you’re suggested to do so while nibbling on dark chocolate truffles or BBQ spare ribs.

    But wait, there’s more! Tava comes with a grassroots focus as well.

    The website features emerging artists and musicians, and displays “inspirational” messages reminiscent of those often seen on Senior yearbook pages like, “sometimes it’s okay to think inside the box, ” “set your mind to shuffle,” and “what if what if didn’t exist?”

    Oh, and if you’re wondering what Tava means, the Frequently Asked Questions page proclaims that the name was created to “evoke feelings of possibility and discovery.”

    Do you think Tava will be a hit in Pepsi’s roster or a beverage bomb like their Crystal and Blue varieties?

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    Everything that Sparkles Is Not Gold

    Diet Coke Plus — the current “it” drink among the young Hollywood crowd, if you believe the Coca-Cola PR wizzes — will soon appear in a supermarket or convenience store near you.

    And don’t you dare call it a soda! According to the marketing gurus, Diet Coke is a “sparkling beverage”.

    Jumping on the Vitamin Water bandwagon about five years too late, Coca-Cola will now offer their classic diet soda with 15% of the recommended amounts of niacin, B6, and B12, and 10% of the magnesium and zinc daily values per each eight ounce can.

    Despite a massive push by vitamin companies, most of us do not need extra dosages of vitamins and minerals if we eat in a balanced and healthy fashion.

    I would only really advocate extra dosages to people with absorption deficiencies or, in the case of Vitamin D, to people whose exposure to sunlight is limited (we can’t rely on food alone to get our Vitamin D needs).

    It is very rare for healthy adults to be deficient in the vitamins and minerals present in Diet Coke Plus.

    Niacin, by law, must be added to all bread products, a staple in most everyone’s diet. B6 and B12 are mainly found in protein-rich foods, and given the protein overload in the United States diet, there is little reason to worry about these two vitamins.

    Zinc is found in many animal products and is also added to nearly all ready-to-eat cereals, which millions of people have for breakfast.

    Keep in mind, too, that you can get the same amount of zinc in Diet Coke Plus in just one ounce of pecans, or a cup of yogurt.

    Ironically, Diet Coke still contains phosphoric acid, which, as I explained in issue two of Small Bites, decreases our blood calcium levels. Now THAT’S a mineral many people, especially women, are not getting enough of.

    If you enjoy Diet Coke, feel free to continue to have it once in a while. However, do not for a second think this new product is a health food.

    If you’re a Pepsi fan, you too can have unnecessary extra vitamins and minerals when their very own Tava drink is released later this year.

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