On Tuesday, Pepsi unveiled a new soda in Japan called "Pepsi Special". If you're wondering what the "special" stands for, it might be due to the company's claim the soda contains "fat blocking" ingredients.
According to Forbes
, Suntory, Pepsi's distributor in Japan, claims the soda "reduces the absorption of fat".
The ingredient that claims to reduce the consumer's fat absorption is “indigestible dextrin,” or dietary fiber. Basically, the soda is designed to be eliminated quickly by the human body, and the company distributing the new drink appears to be touting Pepsi Special as a healthier drink option.
reported the Japanese Ministry of Health labeled Pepsi Special indicating the drink "is intended to be consumed for the maintenance/promotion of health or special health uses by people who wish to control health conditions, including blood pressure or blood cholesterol."
In the U.S. these claims are being questioned.
"How do these claims sit with experts? Not well", said a Forbes
“It’s true that naturally occurring soluble fiber that’s present in oats, barley, cruciferous vegetables and the stuff in seeds and the skin of apples does help block cholersterol absorption,” Dr. Melina Jampolis, a physician nutrition specialist, told Forbes, “but there’s no publicly available evidence suggesting that synthetic fibers do this too.”
In its report, Forbes
pointed to an earlier study. In 2006, a study found dextrin-fed rats didn't absorb the same level of fat as those rats that were fed dextrin, but also pointed out this testing wasn't conducted with humans and may not have the same effect, and fundamentally, soda is still soda no matter what companies add to it.
Several media sources noted that Pepsi is not the first soft drink company to promote dextrin in soda as a "healthier" option in Japan. Kirin Beverage
already has a soda product on the market that contains dextrin.
According to MSN's Health Today
, yesterday PepsiCo in the U.S. responded to an inquiry.
The food and beverage category in Japan has many unique products. In this case, our partner Suntory is launching a low-calorie, fiber-infused beverage to compete with similar offerings already in the marketplace.