Pepsi Special will use dextrin to reduce fat levels in blood—the application of a Japanese governmental study from six years ago that found the carbohydrate would allow less absorption of fat into the system.
Busts fat, subdues appetite
And according to research published in Appetite last year, the water-soluble fibre supplement also increased participants’ sense of satiety and decreased the amount of energy absorbed from the next meal.
However, while there is a big difference between saturated and unsaturated fats, a fat-blocking drink would in theory hinder the absorption of both types—including the good.
The new drink might add up to big news for slimmers, but Pepsi isn’t focusing on this angle when its comes to Special’s advertising and marketing campaign. Instead, promotional materials focus on its “crisp and refreshing” taste, and steer away from the fibre aspects of the drink.
Pepsi Special has been given the tokuko designation from the Japanese Consumer Affairs Agency. This means that it is “food for specified health use” and is earned by foods in Japan where the companies have demonstrated that the food can deliver special health benefits.
Others on the hunt for health
This isn’t the first example of a dextrin-rich beverage in Japan, with Kirin releasing the Mets Cola beverage, which also contains the substance earlier this year. It sold well enough that PepsiCo and its local distributor, Suntory, to jump on what could be a lucrative bandwagon.
However, success will only be relative, given that the Japanese drink less carbonated drinks than almost all other developed nations. According to data compiled in the Global Market Information Database, the per-capita consumption there is just 21.6 litres of sodas per year, equating to exactly one-tenth of the American total of 216 litres—the world’s highest.
Bitter rival Coca-Cola, meanwhile, has been working hard on its international health colas, and is reportedly working on a line of drinks in France that it claims will make the consumer more beautiful. Although the world’s carbonated leader is yet to release any information on the venture, it it expected that the company is partnering with a French drug company known for making health and beauty products.
As might be expected, the response from nutritionists around the world towards Pepsi’s latest venture has not been positive, not least because of the fast-food lifestyle encapsulated by carbonated drinks.
Editor's note: What are your views on carbonated drinks designed to enhance health? Is it possible for a traditional junk food accompaniment to actually be a good thing? Let us know in the comments below.