Woolworths Australia invited me to try Pepsi’s new product, Pepsi NEXT. I received a 600mL bottle in the mail and decided to find out a little more about this new “health conscious” drink before I tried it. Soft Drinks
A report by the NSW Centre for Public Health Nutrition, 2009, states that soft drinks are often sweetened using high-fructose corn syrup which can contribute to obesity. A positive correlation between consumption of sugary soft drinks and weight gain, was found. In a 600mL bottle of Pepsi there are 66 grams of sugar, about 16.5 teaspoons.
It was also found that excessive consumption of soft drinks can lead to:
- “Displacement of healthier foods from the diet leading to poorer diet quality
- Dental caries and dental erosion
- Bone fractures, low bone density, osteoporosis, hypocalcemia
- Disturbed sleep patterns, bedwetting and anxiety (younger children)
- Headache, fatigue, decreased alertness, depressed mood and irritability*
- Chronic disease including metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure”
The article also argued that diet soft drinks can stimulate the appetite for sweet foods and thus are not the best option for those wishing to reduce their sugar intake.
Another important point was that “diet soft drinks are often promoted as a healthy alternative but they [can still have] ill-health consequences…[such as]… high levels of acidity which may contribute to dental erosion when consumed regularly…, [and links] to disturbances of the central nervous system, loss of bone mass, [and possibly heart disease].”
However, the most common sweeteners used in diet drinks in Australia are aspartame and acesulfame potassium, which have been proven safe for consumption by humans. Phenylanine, is toxic for people with a rare disease, phenylkotenuria, but is OK for others. For more information, see here.
Pepsi Next claims to use 30% less sugar by using stevia, a natural plant-based sweetener which is mainly cultivated in Paraguay, Brazil, China and Japan. While some argue that Pepsi NEXT is still unhealthy due to the various additives used in the product, others argue that it is better than drinking a normal Pepsi or Coke which can have even worse health consequences.
The Taste Test
Well the verdict’s out and…….it tastes exactly the same as Pepsi to me. I guess this is a good thing as it tastes the same as the original Pepsi with 16.5 teaspoons of sugar, but this one actually contains a natural sweetener instead.
If there are no harmful or negative health issues associated with stevia, then Pepsi NEXT could be a real winner.
Obviously water is always going to be the healthiest drink option, but for those who are addicted to Pepsi or Coke, I would recommend giving Pepsi NEXT a go!
I give it 6.5/10.