We were excited to see the ads from Pepsi touting their new aspartame-free Diet Pepsi formula..
Their slogan “You Spoke – We Listened” gave us high hopes that the new formula might now contain a natural sweetener that is much safer than aspartame. Diet Pepsi flavored with Stevia would have been an exciting turn event. Unfortunately, they went from Aspartame to its equally questionable cousin. We’re not sure who Pepsi was listening to when they said they were listening. It definitely wasn’t advocates of natural, organic and safe alternatives to aspartame. The key word apparently is “formulated” (as in chemical formula) because we tracked down a bottle of the newly formulated drink and were disappointed to see the new recipe is sweetened with Sucralose (also known as Splenda).
According to the NCBI government website, sucralose is a synthetic sweetener that interacts with our body to create a “sweet taste” and goes on to provide that in rats sucralose has been found to alter the microbial composition in the gastrointestinal track with a greater reduction in beneficial bacteria. The article also found that “Cooking with sucralose at high termperatures was reported to generate chloropropanols, a potentially toxic class of compounds.” See the article at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24219506.
I don’t know whether Diet Pepsi is heated to high temperatures from the factory, but I do know that the delivery truck to my former office was not air conditioned. Beverages filled into our office vending machine were often extremely warm especially in the summer. So not only does the new formula potentially change gut flora, it may contain “a potentially toxic class of compounds.”
Accordingly, if you’re looking for a safe alternative to Diet Pepsi, the reformulated sucralose-based option is likely not the answer. Rumors are that is also tastes different. If you want the bite and crisp flavor of Diet Pepsi without the chemicals and artificial coloring, consider cranberry juice. Cranberry juice is believed to be an anti-fungal (an added benefit) and is available in 100% juice blends or pure cranberry juice that contain antioxidants and nutrients.