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artificial sweeteners



Pepsi’s New Mountain Dew Kickstart is Not a Healthy Breakfast Choice

Just when you thought you’d seen it all, Pepsi tries to sell us on Mountain Dew for breakfast.

PepsiCo announced Monday it will be releasing a new “breakfast” drink. Mountain Dew Kickstart is a Mountain Dew-flavored fruit juice drink that will be available in two flavors: Energizing Orange Citrus and Fruit Punch, according to USA Today.

  • Mountain Dew’s vice president of marketing, Greg Lyons, explained Kickstart was born out of consumer demand. “Our consumers told us they are looking for an alternative to traditional morning beverages – one that tastes great, includes real fruit juice and has just the right amount of kick to help them start their days.”
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Sweet ‘n Sad: Artificial Sweeteners Linked to Depression Risk

A study from the American Academy of Neurology has found a link between sweetened drinks and a higher risk of depression, with diet soda being the highest risk. Conversely, unsweetened coffee got kudos for appearing to decrease the depression risk.

“Sweetened beverages, coffee and tea are commonly consumed worldwide and have important physical — and may have important mental — health consequences,” said study researcher Honglei Chen, M.D., Ph.D., an investigator in the Epidemiology Branch at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Researchers studied the drinking habits of 263,925 people between 50 and 71 years old for a year. After a decade they checked back in with them and found 11,311 participants were diagnosed with depression. Frequently consuming sweetened drinks was linked to a modestly higher risk of depression.
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Diet Pepsi’s New Sweetener is Still No Reason to Drink Diet Soda

There’s a new Diet Pepsi in several cities around the U.S., which now lists a new ingredient on the cans and bottles. It’s called acesulfame potassium, also known as Acesulfame K or Ace K.

This quiet change is apparently not going to change the taste of the soda, but is meant to add shelf life by allowing the “fresh” taste and flavor to last longer. The project’s goal is to give the old/current base sweetener (aspartame) a jump kick because of its sensitivity to heat and susceptibility to breaking down. Ace K has proven to be less sensitive to heat.

So what exactly is Ace K? Acesulfame potassium is another form of an artificial sweetener that is calorie free and about 200 times as sweet as everyday table sugar. Due to its slightly bitter aftertaste, it is often mixed with other artificial sweeteners (in this case it was mixed with Diet Pepsi’s aspartame). It’s often found in many baked goods, processed foods and other soft drinks similar to Diet Pepsi.

“Aspartame breaks down during storage especially when the temperature is high (that’s why you can’t bake with it) and so this is a good move on Pepsi’s part,” said our resident dietitian, Mary Hartley, RD. “The move has nothing to do with the safety of aspartame, which has been found to be safe in scientific studies time and again.”

That might be one positive factor, but is it enough to make it OK to be consuming the other harmful ingredients listed on the back?
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Doctor Oz Kicks Artificial Sweeteners to the Curb

Are artificial sweeteners doing more damage than good to your health? On October 8th’s episode, Dr. Oz talked about sugar and butter substitutes to set the record straight on what they are, how they affect your body, and if they are harmful.Dr. Oz Show Logo

Dr. Oz cuts right to the chase with three questions he’s asked about artificial sweeteners over and over: Do they cause cancer? Can they cause weight gain? and Are they addictive?

For the first time, Oz links artificial sweeteners to metabolic syndrome, a dangerous epidemic he says is sweeping the nation. Metabolic syndrome consists of high blood pressure, excess belly fat, and insulin resistance. Oz examines the links between artificial sweeteners and Alzheimer’s as well. He decides that the risks outweigh any perceived benefits when it comes to artificial sweeteners. Finally, something we can agree with Oz on.
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Food Fight: Sugar vs. Artificial Sweeteners

About a year ago I was sitting in a coffee shop in Topeka, Kansas with my husband, eating a vegan oatmeal cookie and doing some reading online. One of the articles I came across was ‘Is Sugar Toxic?‘ by The New York Times. And by the time I finished the 6,000+ word story, I was deeply regretting that cookie.

The article discussed the research of Dr. Robert Lustig – a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California – who has deemed sugar as the major cause of most of the health-related diseases Americans are facing today like obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. And he believes 75% of these diseases are preventable if we’d just cut back on the sweet stuff.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta recently did a special on Dr. Lustig on 60 Minutes, and the story seemed to catch the attention of other media outlets. This has brought the ‘sugar is toxic’ discussion back full circle, forcing Americans once again to consider whether or not it’s their sugar habit that’s making them sick.
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