Pepsi kicks aspartame to the curb

PepsiCo is finally removing aspartame from its Diet Pepsi product. This comes after U.S. consumers raise concern about the safety of aspartame, a controversial artificial sweetener. This will be one of the biggest changes the brand faces in about thirty years. Aspartame will be replaced with another sweetener called sucralose (or what we know as Splenda).

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Consumers Concern for Artificial Sweeteners

PepsiCo claims they are removing the artificial sweetener in response to consumer’s concerns about the safety of aspartame. And the level of concern is clear when it comes to the numbers:Diet Pepsi sales in the U.S. dropped 5.2 percent last year. Itscompetitor, Diet Coke, which also contains aspartame, suffered an even bigger loss in sales with a 6.6 percent drop. 

"Aspartame is the number one reason consumers are dropping diet soda,” says Seth Kaufman, vice-president of Pepsi. 

Aspartame has long been a controversial subject ever since it was first approved in the 1980s. However, the FDA claims that it is one of the most thoroughly tested and studied food additives. So why the controversy? There have been a number of studies that have shown that artificial sweeteners, aspartame in particular, is linked to some of the most debilitating illnesses in which the “diet” products are supposed to protect us from, including heart attacks, strokes, hypertension, cancer, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. 

Dangers of Aspartame

The hidden truth/dangers about aspartame: Did you know that over 6,000 food and drink products that millions of us buy every day contain aspartame? I didn’t think so. Aspartame is actually one of the most common, yet dangerous food additives. We recognize aspartame under brand names like Equal or NutraSweet. 

Aspartame is often hidden under labels marked ‘diet’ or ‘sugar-free’, which is actually quite contradicting considering aspartame may actually increase your appetite and risk for weight gain. Products containing aspartame are marketed as low-calorie, because they are. But the only reason aspartame is ‘low-calorie’ is because it’s actually 200 times sweeter than sugar, so less of it needs to be added to food or drink products.People who drink diet soda on a daily basis have a higher rate of obesity than people who don’t. In addition, research shows that people who drink diet soda actually consume a much higher amount of calories from food than people who drink regular soda. 

FDA Approval of Aspartame

Most people view products approved by the FDA as instantly safe. But if you take a closer look at how aspartame has been tested, the questionable approval methods, or the toxic and harmful ingredients it contains, you might think twice about how safe it really is. In fact, the studies that are funded by the foodand drink corporations tend to minimize the health concerns associated with their products.

Why don’t we hear more about the dangers of aspartame, or of the food and drink industry in general? To put it simply: Money. The major food and drink corporations make tons and tons of money off their products that ‘taste good’ to the majority of the public. There is also a lack of awareness within the general public. More recently though, people have been trying to spread awareness because it is becoming more widely known as a major public health threat. For example, a documentary came out last year called Fed Up which does a fascinating job at exploiting the hidden dangers of the food industry. Medical experts have also been speaking out more in the media about the issue. Fortunately, the public is beginning to educate themselves about the hidden dangers within the food industry and are fighting back. It’s about time.

Should you be drinking regular soda instead? The answer is no. Soda, whether it be diet or regular, is not good for us. Both diet and regular soda contain artificial ingredients and chemicals that are toxic and harmful to our bodies. The calories in regular soda are entirely made up of added sugar, and therefore provides no nutritional value in terms of vitamins or minerals. Drinking soda is drinking empty calories. What’s the point of that? Just for the taste and that rush of blood sugar? Let’s have a little self-control people. 

And look at us Americans, drinking a total of 57 gallons of soda per person each year. Yet does anyone even realize how much sugar that is? And that it’s making us sick? Aspartame being removed from Diet Pepsi is good news. But to fix any problem, we must get to the source of it. Hence, we need to stop drinking soda…completely. 

Tips to kick that soda habit

Because soda can be addicting, it can be hard to stop drinking it all at once. Try reducing the amount you drink little by little, until you’re able to completely kick that craving. The less soda you drink, the better. Here are some tips to help kick that nasty habit:

• Don’t keep soda in your home

• Avoid other sweetened beverages like flavored coffee, sweetened tea, fruit juice, and energy drinks, as they only enhance your sugar craving.

• Drink more water. 

• Try an alternative like unsweetened iced-tea

• Know what triggers your soda craving, and avoid it