PepsiCo’s peers are paying close attention to the Diet Pepsi’s breakup with aspartame. CSP Daily News recently reported on Diet Pepsi’s sucralose and acesulfame potassium-sweetened reformulation, which is slated to begin rolling out in stores in late August. The move was designed to address growing consumer wariness of aspartame, an artificial sweetener long used in low- and zero-calorie sodas, including Diet Coke.
Speaking on his competitor’s decision to reformulate Diet Pepsi, Alexander “Sandy” Douglas Jr., executive vice president & president of Coca-Cola North America, said on a Coke earnings call that the new Diet Pepsi will “create a lot of buzz in the category, some of it good, as the good science of the safety of non-nutritive sweeteners gets out in the marketplace and is reinforced.”
Aspartame is viewed as one of the chief factors in declining sales of diet sodas, yet executives for the Coca-Cola Company and Dr Pepper Snapple Group said that they have no plans to abandon the sweetener for their diet sodas, citing a strong following from consumers of the drinks. Nevertheless, Dr Pepper Snapple CEO Larry Young noted that as it relates to the company’s core business, “we’ll be watching everything.”
But maybe Aspartame Ain’t So Bad?
Speaking of artificial sweeteners, The New York Times contributor Aaron E. Carroll thinks they get a bad rap. In a recent editorial, Carroll chronicled the longstanding criticisms of artificial sweeteners like saccharin and aspartame, pointing to research indicating they pose less of a health risk than sugar.
FDA’s Proposed Sugar Labeling Laws Draw Ire of ABA
Moving on to the original added sweetener, sugar, Fortune magazine recently reported on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) proposed nutrition label changes that would require food and drink labels to identify the amount of added sugar products contain. As might be expected, some within the food and beverage industry aren’t pleased. In a 17-page response the Sugar Association took exception to the proposed “added sugar” requirements, while the American Beverage Association wrote “added sugars are not uniquely or directly linked to a risk of chronic disease, health-related condition, or a physiological endpoint” in its response.
The Pear: Hangover Helper?
There may be a new weapon in our collective fight against hangovers: pears. VICE Media’s food channel Munchies examined an ongoing study on the fruit’s hangover-fighting properties being conducted by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Australia’s national science agency. Though the official findings from the study won’t be released for another two months, CSIRO’s research director of nutrition and health, Manny Noakes, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that pears may lower blood alcohol levels, thus alleviating the effects of a long night of boozing.
Don’t Forget Your Coffee
If you’re still not sold on the merits of a morning cup of coffee, Forbes has another study for you. Researchers conducting the Italian Longitudinal Study on Aging have found drinking a consistent amount of coffee on a daily basis significantly reduces one’s risk of developing mild cognitive impairment (MCI), the intermediate stage of cognitive decline that precedes dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Consistency and moderation is key though; those who increased their consumption to more than one cup a day had twice the rate of MCI as those who reduced their habit to one or less cups per day.