Pepsi drops con­tro­ver­sial sweet­ener

Lesotho Times - - Health -

LON­DON — Diet Pepsi will no longer con­tain the sweet­ener as­par­tame due to cus­tomer fears over its safety.the con­tro­ver­sial sweet­ener has been linked to a range of health prob­lems, although re­search has shown it to be safe.

Pep­sico said this week it is drop­ping the in­gre­di­ent from the popular drink in the US in re­sponse to cus­tomer feed­ Pepsi, Caf­feine-free Diet Pepsi and Wild Cherry Diet Pepsi will now con­tain su­cralose, an­other ar­ti­fi­cial sweet­ener com­monly known as Splenda.

The de­ci­sion to swap sweet­en­ers comes as af­ter a decade of plum­met­ing sales. Con­sumers have shifted away from diet drinks be­cause of per­ceived health con­cerns about ar­ti­fi­cial sweet­en­ers, specif­i­cally as­par­tame.

The in­gre­di­ent, used in fizzy drinks and diet prod­ucts, has been at the cen­tre of crit­i­cal re­ports dat­ing back decades link­ing it to ev­ery­thing from can­cer to pre­ma­ture birth.this is de­spite the Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion stat­ing that more than 100 stud­ies sup­port as­par­tame’s safety.

How­ever th­ese as­sur­ances have failed to con­vince some peo­ple, who con­tinue to re­port ad­verse re­ac­tions, such as headaches and nau­sea af­ter con­sum­ing foods con­tain­ing the sweet­ener.

The sweet­ener, which is about 200 times sweeter than sugar, is widely used to sweeten diet so­das.

It is also used by ri­val Coca-cola Co in its drinks such as Diet Coke, Coke Zero and Sch­weppes Diet Lemon­ade.

In a state­ment to­day, Pep­sico said: “Diet cola drinkers in the U.S. told us they wanted as­par­tame-free Diet Pepsi and we’re de­liv­er­ing.”

The re­for­mu­lated drinks will begin ap­pear­ing on shelves in Au­gust.

Sales in Pep­sico’s bev­er­age busi­ness have been hurt by a long-term decline in soft drink sales in the United States. And Coca-cola said this week that sales vol­ume for Diet Coke fell 5 per­cent in North Amer­ica in the first three months of the year.

Ex­ec­u­tives at Coke and Pepsi blame the de­clines on per­cep­tions that as­par­tame, first sold un­der the brand name Nu­trasweet, is not safe.

De­spite as­par­tame’s poor rep­u­ta­tion, it has been ruled a safe food in­gre­di­ent by food watch­dogs in Bri­tain, the EU, the USA and around the world.last month, a study com­mis­sioned by Bri­tain’s food watch­dog found eat­ing the sweet­ener had no im­pact on the body or be­hav­iour of peo­ple who claimed to be sen­si­tive to it.the re­search had been eval­u­ated by in­de­pen­dent ex­perts, peer re­viewed and pub­lished in the jour­nal PLOS ONE.

In De­cem­ber 2013, the Euro­pean Food Safety Author­ity (EFSA) pub­lished an opin­ion on as­par­tame fol­low­ing a full risk as­sess­ment and

con­cluded it was “safe for hu­man con­sump­tion at cur­rent lev­els of ex­po­sure”.

This was sup­ported by Bri­tain’s Com­mit­tee on Tox­i­c­ity which said the sweet­ener was safe and there was no need for ac­tion, such as tak­ing it off the shelves, to pro­tect public health.

But Erik Mill­stone, Pro­fes­sor of Science Pol­icy at the Uni­ver­sity of Sus­sex, in­sists there is good qual­ity in­de­pen­dent re­search which raises safety con­cerns.

An EU funded project pub­lished in 2010 found preg­nant women who down cans of fizzy drink con­tain­ing ar­ti­fi­cial sweet­en­ers ap­pear to be at greater risk of hav­ing a pre­ma­ture is rare for a mother to be to give birth early - be­fore 37 weeks - as­sum­ing all as­pects of the preg­nancy have been nor­mal.

The re­search found this low risk was in­creased by 38 per cent if the woman was drink­ing an av­er­age of one can of diet drink a day.

The statis­tics, gath­ered by aca­demics in Den­mark, showed that a woman who rou­tinely drank at least four cans a day could in­crease the risk by as much as 78 per­cent. This meant that if the risk of a pre­ma­ture birth was nor­mally one in a 100, it in­creased to 1.78 in 100.

The pro­fes­sor also high­lighted work by the in­de­pen­dent Ra­mazz­ini Foun­da­tion in Italy.sci­en­tist there have pub­lished re­search sug­gest­ing as­par­tame caused sev­eral types of can­cer in rats at doses very close to the cur­rent ac­cept­able daily in­take for hu­mans.

— Daily Mail


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