According to The Huffington Post, Diet Pepsi has been quietly testing out new sweeteners to help add to the shelf life of the popular soft drink. Previously, the diet cola has been sweetened with Aspartame. Aspartame is sensitive to heat and breaks down more easily. By adding “a very small amount” of acesulfame potassium (which is often found in chewing gum, gelatin desserts and baked goods,) the aspartame will break down less quickly and will “ensure consistency with every sip.” But rest assured–“A change in sweetener does not change the flavor.” Executives at Pepsi are hoping that the addition of acesulfame potassium will help boost sales of the soft drink, which the number three soft drink in the country. Main competitor Coca-Cola is the number one drink.
Now, I’m all for corporate competition. However, I’m not digging the addition of even more artificial sweeteners to the mix. What exactly is acesulfame potassium? It’s a calorie free sweetener that is 200 times sweeter than table sugar. It is often used in sweetener blends to produce a more sugar-like taste in a food or beverage. The ingredient also helps the blend retain its sweetness during baking or heat processing, which is important for preparing foods, such as cookies and candies. Acesulfame potassium helps blends sustain their sweetness over time, thereby increasing the sweetness shelf life of products. In addition, foods containing blends of acesulfame potassium contain up to 40 percent less total sweetener.
While the FDA claims that the sweetener is safe, why not add natural sugar to the beverage? It’s easy to say “well, we should all stop drinking soda and stick to water, tea and milk,” but everyone has personal taste preferences. What’s your take on the soda debate?