Unless you have been living in a cave your whole life, my guess is that you’ve heard of the brand Pepsi. It is one of the biggest cola manufacturers in the world. In general, most soda falls into 2 main categories. There’s the regular soda that is sweetened with either sugar or high-fructose corn syrup, and there is the diet sodas (find out how they can make you gain weight here) which are sweetened with artificial sweeteners like aspartame. Until recently there hasn’t been a lot in the middle.
Soda companies in recent years have seen their sales slip and one big reason for this is that people are realizing that drinking all this liquid sugar is leading to huge obesity problems and other life threatening health conditions. This year the World Health Organization proposed that we reduce our sugar intake to less than 6 teaspoons per day. Keep in mind that a regular can of Pepsi contains approximately 10 teaspoons of sugar. More than your entire recommended daily limit!
Pepsi has known for years that the sugar and high-fructose corn syrup in their product is one of the major causes of the obesity epidemic in North America. They have chosen to ignore it because as long as sales were going up they really didn’t care.
Now that sales are starting to be impacted and their back is against the wall they have decided to launch Pepsi Next. This is a product that in the US contains 60% less sugar. They basically replaced 60% of the sugar in the beverage with artificial sweeteners. The goal is to create a mid-calorie cola beverage and target people who are weight conscious but don’t like the taste of diet soda.
In countries like Canada, France, Finland, the Netherlands, and Australia Pepsi Next has 30% less sugar and the 30% of sugar they removed has been replaced with stevia (a natural sweetener – derived from a plant). In this case, Pepsi is also targeting the weight conscious consumer. In addition, the use of stevia as a sweetener instead of artificial sweeteners shows me that Pepsi is hoping to capture the health conscious consumer and allure them toward the product with the perception that this product is healthier than it really is.
Stevia is a natural sweetener and is healthier than artificial sweeteners. It is actually a green plant (see picture to the right). In fact, I grow it in my garden and it’s crazy-ass sweet (and delicious!). When you buy natural stevia at the health food store to use as a sweetener it should look green. They basically take the whole leaf, dry it and grind it up. However, Pepsi doesn’t use that kind of stevia. Pepsi uses a highly refined stevia product where a very specific component of the stevia plant called Reb-A is isolated. The plant stevia does have a bit of a bitter flavour to it. However, the Reb-A component is sweet and less bitter. Pepsi uses this version of processed stevia because their goal is to create a product that has less sugar so that they can market it as healthier but they also want to make sure it tastes the same as their sugar version.
Have you noticed that when companies like Pepsi come out with a product like this they love to draw your attention to the health benefits? Their hope is that it will convince you it is healthier than it really is and encourage you to purchase it/drink it more often. If you look at the Canadian Pepsi Next website for example, you will notice that the first thing they mention in big bold letters is that this product is Naturally Sweetened.
Even though there is some processed stevia in the product to replace the sugar it is still full of sugar – one can contains almost 7 teaspoons of sugar which is still more than a full days worth according to the World Health Organization.
As you can see, even though this product does have less sugar, it is by no means a healthy product. There really isn’t anything nutritious about it. It’s still soda, it is still incredibly bad for you and it should still be avoided. Don’t let Pepsi’s fancy marketing trick you into thinking any differently.
What can you do as a consumer to let the world know you care about your health? Share this message to join the movement:
I don’t drink Pepsi Next! It has less sugar than regular pepsi but it’s still super unhealthy & a major cause of obesity. #votewithyourfork
Plus if you want a little sparkle in your life try adding some sparkling water to freshly pressed orange juice. It’s delicious!
Did you enjoy this article? I would love to hear from you in the comment section below and I would love it if you could help spread the word through social media so we can let the world know that this new Pepsi Next product can’t be trusted. Thanks for your help!
In naked health,