The soft drink giant Pepsi has announced the release of a new type of soda with some special features. According to Pepsi, the ingredients found in this soda will help prevent fat production in your body and also reduce bad cholesterol. Pepsi claims that drinking this new type of soda will lead to a healthier life. The key ingredient in this new drink referred to as Pepsi Special is dextrin. Dextrin is known to be a dietary fiber that is indigestible. The Japanese distributor of Pepsi is claiming that this soda can even stop a rise in triglycerides after you finish eating and consequently it can lower blood pressure.
Unfortunately it seems that Pepsi’s claim is not backed up by science
Suntory, the sole Japanese distributor of this new drink, makes reference to an experiment done in 2006 on rats. The study showed that dextrin fed rat did not grow as much fat as rats who were not fed with it. According to reports, the Japanese ministry of health has already given the new drink it seal of approval as health drink. The ministry of health released a statement where it said that Pepsi Special is intended to be consumed for the promotion of health. They added that it could be used by people who want to control their health conditions, like blood pressure and the level of cholesterol in the blood.
This should not be seen as a surprise since dextrin based soft drinks sold as health products has been the order of the day in the Japanese market. The only problem here is there is no scientific evidence supporting the idea.
The fact is indigestible dietary fiber is basically a type of fiber that cannot be digested by the stomach. It just passes through the human digestive system and eventually finds itself in the stools. So it doesn’t play a role in blocking fat uptake.
In 2001 a study showed that it was possible to make somebody feel fuller for longer by simply adding dextrin to his food. According to that study, by eating fiber rich food, one could end up cutting down on the next meal by 72 calories. Another study done in 2011, supported the idea that the appetite of a person could be curbed by adding dextrin to beverages. That said it would be an overstatement to say that dextrin drink could lower cholesterol. Research has shown that some added fibers can potentially lower LDL cholesterol. The fact remains that dextrin-laced drinks have not yet been scientifically proven to offer such benefits.
Actually, if there is any way that dextrin based soft drink can lower cholesterol, it is probably by reducing the appetite of the person consuming it. So basically the drink can help people eat less of bad cholesterol boosting food. But that is not how the Suntory explains it to the public. Aside that soft drinks already have health concerns raised about them.
Suntory has not yet released the amount of sugar and corn syrup used to produce each bottle of its new drink. One should be careful about the amount of sugar in any of those soft drinks. Even a soft drink that has too much sugar in it can potentially caused more harm than the health benefits it might be advertised for. To add to that, there has been some research that shows a link between certain types of diseases and the consumption of soft drinks. Diseases like diabetes, heart diseases, stroke and obesity have been associated with the high consumption of soft drinks. Therefore it would not be smart for a company to label its soft drink as “healthy” where there is no proof that the other diseases risk factors have been mitigated.
It is not probable that the new Pepsi drink will be in US anytime soon. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) usually does not allow soft drinks masqueraded as health products to enter the country.