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Pepsi’s Next Attempt to Keep Americans Hooked on Soda

In “let’s unleash more corn syrup and fake sweeteners” news, PepsiCo has announced the upcoming launch of a “mid-calorie beverage” known as Pepsi NEXT, which will offer 60% less sugar and 60% fewer calories than regular Pepsi.  Iowa and Wisconsin are scheduled to be the first two victims states to try the new carbonated concoction.  Despite the forthcoming pomp and circumstance, this is far from a new concept.  And, above all, it is yet another beverage chock-full of unhealthy chemicals.

This is actually the company’s third attempt at a “mid-calorie beverage”.  1995′s Pepsi XL –with 50 percent less sugar and 50 percent fewer calories than regular Pepsi — cost $1.5 million to produce and $8 million to advertise, and was far from a hit with consumers.  And, just seven years ago, they launched 70-calorie Pepsi Edge, which fizzled (sorry, you knew I had to insert that pun somewhere in this post!) after just a year on the market.

Not surprisingly, PepsiCo execs are hyping up Pepsi Next as a “game-changer”.  According to Massimo F. D’Amore, Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo Americas Beverages, “Pepsi Next is a next-generation cola.  The way we were formulating products 10, 20 years ago is different from how we formulate them today, so I think it’s time we give it a try.  The sweetener system is different; some of the ingredients are different. It’s a great-tasting product.”

While details are not out yet, trade magazine Beverage Industry reports that Pepsi Next “would likely be sweetened with a mixture of high-fructose corn syrup, sucralose, ace-K and aspartame, while another source said there could still be some tweaks to the sweetener blend.”

And, so, really, we see nothing new here.  If anything, Pepsi Next combines the worst of both worlds: empty calories and unhealthy artificial sweeteners.  Sucralose — also known as Splenda — has been shown to negatively affect gut microflora and decrease absorption of many minerals (by increasing fecal pH levels).    Acesulfame potassium, meanwhile, has had many alarming carcinogenic links, and researchers have valid reasons as to why studies determining its “safety” have been deeply flawed.

Just like its fellow regular and diet varieties, Pepsi Next will also contain carcinogenic caramel coloring and be housed in BPA-lined cans.  Even more disturbingly, as BNet’s Food Fight columnist Melanie Warner pointed out last month, “[these flavor] enhancers are needed in such small quantities that they fly under the labeling radar [and] can be identified on ingredient lists only as ‘artificial flavor,’ a category that could include a million and one other things.”

The best thing Americans can do for their health is cut down on their intake of all sodas, regardless of their caloric or sugar values.  The United States has the highest per-capita consumption of soft drinks in the world (we’re talking almost a gallon per week per person).  Ireland, the second country on that list, consumes just slightly more than half the soda we do.  America runs on high fructose corn syrup, and our bodies and healthcare system ultimately pay the price while the soft drink industry laughs all the way to the bank.

Pepsi Next is nothing but another attempt to profit from cheap and questionable ingredients under the guise of “helping” Americans make slightly better choices.  Hopefully, it will be PepsiCo’s third and final strike.

Thank you to Michele Simon for research and editing assistance with this post.

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7 Comments

  1. Matty said on June 16th, 2011

    I rarely drink soda. When I look at the ingredient list for sodas and see the outrageous amount of added sugar, it’s enough to make me change my mind.

  2. Raychel said on June 16th, 2011

    I never drink soda, we don’t even keep it in the house. I am so sick of food companies turning a profit at the expense of our health and then telling us that it’s perfectly safe. While the sugar in this crap will back on the pounds and mess up insulin/blood sugar levels, it’s the known as well as the unknown/unstudied effects of the many synthetic chemicals used and added that worries me most. So it’s just best bet is to leave it all behind and drink water instead!

  3. Chere Michelle said on June 26th, 2011

    Wow. I really don’t think we need another soda and a new category, mid-calorie?? I don’t even remember the failed mid calorie attempts to be honest…we need to lose soda in general. There is no reason to drink it.

  4. Perma Chalandrin said on June 28th, 2011

    It will probably use hfcs as a sweetener and a new chemical which has been engineered to enhance sweetness. It has no safety record yet so who knows. I bet it will taste very close to the real thing. The company that makes the new chemical is being boycotted by pro-lifers due to their use of aborted fetal cells in product testing/development.

    “A bizarre controversy is unfolding over an impending low-calorie soda from Pepsi (PEP), which the company is creating with the help of the biotech company Senomyx (SNMX). Numerous anti-abortion groups have started a boycott of Pepsi products because they say Senomyx, which develops new ingredients intended to enhance sweetness and other flavors, has done so using embryonic kidney cells that were originally taken from an aborted baby.”

  5. notinbedwithpepsi said on February 20th, 2013

    For comparison purposes Pepsi Next in Australia is advertised as 30% less sugar & naturally sweetened with stevia it also contains plain old cane sugar along with the stevia. & using any ingredient made from fetal / human tissue would not be allowed here possibly Pepsi from the Middle East wouldn’t allow this also

    http://www.snopes.com/politics/medical/pepsi.asp

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/boycott-ends-pepsico-will-not-use-aborted-fetal-cell-lines-for-flavor-enhan/

    There are far better cola products on the market here that are not only better in taste but they actually use real Kola rather than not containing it at all or using artificial flavours like Pepsi & Coke.

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