PepsiCo hopes to boost up their sales with their all-new aspartame-free Diet Pepsi. The revamped product will soon be available in the markets globally. What has led to the launch of this new range of beverage is customer concerns over the harmful effects of aspartame, which is an artificial sweetener, used in the manufacture of diet sodas.
Aspartylphenylalanine-methyl-ester or aspartame was an interesting discovery in the 60s when a group of scientists accidently extracted this artificial sweetener, and it soon became the miracle sugar with zero calories to its credit. As such, it was used in various food products, including diet sodas to cater to the health conscious urban consumers who were shunning away from sugar loaded aerated drinks. The diet soda craze ruled for decades until a few years back when the astonishing side effects of aspartame was brought to light and more and more customers started becoming aware of it.
Many researches (from Harvard University, Washington University, etc.) have highlighted that the consumption of aspartame over the years could lead to brain damage resulting in mental retardation, endocrine dysfunction, etc. The aspartic acid present in aspartame is said to be an “excitotoxin”, which play a significant role in degenerative nervous system diseases such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's, ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) and many others. This is because they over-stimulate the nerve cells thereby leading to their destruction.
According to an article written on aspartame, Aspartame: The History Of A Killer - The Whole Story, by Arthur M. Evangelista, former FDA Investigator, it states, “It appears that an imbalance of these excitotoxins during critical periods of brain development can result in an abnormal formation of brain pathways; that is, a "miswiring of the brain." This may lead to serious disorders such as behavioral problems (hyperactivity, aggression, attention deficit disorders, learning disorders, poor learning ability, and ADD) - and a lifetime of endocrine problems such as menstrual difficulties, infertility, and premature puberty.
One of the earliest observations seen in animals exposed to large doses was gross obesity. Some neuroscienttists have voiced concern that America's explosion of childhood obesity may be related to excitotoxins in food.”
According to the book, While Waiting: A Prenatal Guidebook, it states that aspartame is suspected of causing brain damage in sensitive individuals. A foetus may be at risk for these effects.
Many other studies have highlighted the harmful side effects of aspartame such as severe headache, decreased visions, epileptic seizures, anxiety, insomnia, chest palpitations, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, high blog pressure, etc. However, there are also many studies that have stated that these accusations are false, with no concrete evidence. As the controversies and debates continue about the effects on aspartame, most consumers seem to have made their minds to steer away from it, evident from the dip in sales of diet colas and the like.
PepsiCo’s new formula replaces aspartame with another artificial sweetener which allegedly is not harmful for health. In terms of taste, Seth Kaufman, a senior vice president at PepsiCo, said that the drink is not identical but it should still be familiar to fans of Diet Pepsi.
It’s not the first attempt by PepsiCo Inc to lift flagging sales of Diet Pepsi. In 2012 the company tried improving the drink by combining aspartame with acesulfame potassium, often called ace-K, another artificial sweetener that helps prevent the taste from degrading over time. The latest version of Diet Pepsi will also have ace-K in addition to sucralose, best known by the brand name Splenda. The new cans will be marked with the words “Now Aspartame Free” above the Pepsi circle logo.