Pepsi Special made its debut in Japan earlier this week. What makes the soft drink so special? It's being promoted as a "fat-blocking" soda.
The new Pepsi offering features the addition of dextrin—a fibrous starch often coming from corn, potatoes or rice—which is the main ingredient in the popular fiber supplement, Benefiber. Like other soluble fibers, dextrin absorbs water and promotes healthy elimination. It's also been connected with an ability to stabilize blood glucose levels, decrease the risk of certain GI disorders, and decrease some risks for heart disease as well as increase the absorption of key micronutrients.
How the fiber helps support Pepsi's claims that the soda is also fat-blocking comes from a 2006 study conducted by Japan's National Institute of Health and Nutrition, reportsthe Atlantic. The study subjects who ate dextrin absorbed less fat from their diets than the control group. And it seems that the NIHN gave Pepsi the go-ahead to market the soft drink with the specific fat-blocking function.
Pepsi Special hits the Japanese market on the heels of Mets Cola, a similar dextrin-added soda released by the manufacturer of the popular Kirin brand of beer.
No word yet if Pepsi has any plans to bring the soft drink to the U.S. market, but with obesity rates on the rise, US consumers may be an ideal market for Pepsi Special. But the question still remains: regardless of how much fiber is in the soft drink, can an excessively sweet soft drink ever be considered a healthy option?
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