In a bid to boost falling sales, PepsiCo has decided to remove Aspartame from its Diet Pepsi recipe. The commerical decision comes as a direct response to a recent consumer survey that found that Aspartame was the number one reason stopping Americans buying diet drinks.
The artificial sweetener which is two hundred times sweeter than sucrose has come under much scrutiny in the press and has been the subject of multiple headlines which has seen the sugar alternative linked to everything from cancer to depression.
The new ‘Now Aspartame Free’ labelled Diet Pepsi will launch in the US from August and will instead be sweetened by two alternative substances: sucralose and Ace-K. So the big question is: are these any better for you?
Unfortunately for any fizzy drink fans the answer is no. “Of all the sweeteners Aspartame has had the most bad press, however, many of the same claims that are made about Aspartame can be made about others,” explains celebrity nutritionist Martin MacDonald . Nutrition expert Emma Olliff expands further that as both sucralose and Ace-K are still forms of artificial sweetener they are not neccesarily any better for you than Aspartame.
“Sucralose is a synthetic additive created by chlorinating sugar and reported side effects include head and muscle aches, stomach cramps and diarrhoea, bladder issues, skin irritation, dizziness and inflammation,” Emma explains.
So far it's not sounding good, but the concerns with Acesulfame-K (Ace-K) are even greater as so little is known about the damage it can do to our bodies. “Reported side effects of Ace-K include nausea, headaches, mood problems, impairment of the liver and kidneys, problems with eye sight and possibly cancer,” says Emma.
As Martin summarises: “This is likely just Pepsi doing something that is seemingly good business that will drive more sales and publicity with very little positive or negative impact on people's health.”