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Pepsi Next: Fewer Calories but Creates More Concern

Pepsi just officially released its newest beverage: Pepsi Next.

Pepsi says the new beverage has 60 percent less sugar and 60 percent fewer calories than regular Pepsi. But, in order to keep the sweetness but reduce the amount of sugar and calories, Pepsi Next features all of the sugar substitutes it has into one beverage. It combined high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, Sucralose and acesulfame potassium.

This is quite the sweetener combo and if you are like most, seeing this list may make you wonder what you’re going to be chugging. Even though Pepsi Next does contain a lot of artificial sweeteners, the fact that it is only half the calories of regular Pepsi could be a plus for those who want to reduce their sugar intake and cut calories to lose weight or maintain their weight.

Elisa Zied, MS, RD, CDN, and author of Nutrition at Your Fingertips said in an email, ”If someone were to replace one full calorie soda for a Pepsi Next each day, he or she would save 60 calories—that’s 420 calories a week. They may not lose weight, but they’ll certainly save nutrient-poor sugar calories and perhaps leave more room in the diet for more healthful foods like a small piece of fruit.”

Here is some quick info on these artificial sweeteners included in the Pepsi Next that you may want to know about:

Aspartame, also found in Diet Pepsi, is one of the more controversial artificial sweeteners out there. The FDA has claimed its research has not shown any adverse health complications from aspartame. But according to MedicineNet.com, there is some evidence suggesting headaches, depression, increased hunger, and even cancer can be related to consuming aspartame.

Sucralose, also found in Pepsi One, is most well known for its claim to be made from sugar. It is usually  found in Splenda and is 600 times sweeter than sucrose (table sugar). It is claimed to have no calories by itself. According to Sucralose.org, it is not a natural product. The website claims it is made from a chemically modified sugar molecule. The FDA reviewed studies in human beings and animals. It determined there was no evidence of it causing cancer and posed no risk to human health. According to MedicineNet, the acceptable daily intake (ADI) for sucralose is set at 5 mg per kilogram of body weight per day. So if you weighed 200 pounds, your ADI would be 455 mg. According to Pepsi’s product information for every 12 ounces, there is approximately 14 mg of sucralose.
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Pepsi Next Splits the Difference as a “Mid-Calorie” Soda

Pepsi will introduce a new “mid-calorie” soda at the end of this month. The 60 calorie Pepsi Next will contain half the calories of a regular Pepsi yet, more Pepsi flavor than Diet Pepsi.

This isn’t the first time Pepsi, or Coke for that matter, have attempted this. In 2001 both companies introduced mid-calorie colas. Coke brought C2 to the shelves, while Pepsi distributed Pepsi Edge. Both products were taken off the market within five years due to low sales.

Currently, all soda sales are low. Soft drink sales in 2005 were at 10 billion cases. In 2010, sales dropped to 9.4 billion. While soda sales are going down overall, diet soda sales capture the largest percentage of the market.

This may be the right time for a mid-calorie soda in comparison to 2001. Michael Jacobson is the executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. The Center has criticized high-calorie soft drinks in the past, yet they are liking what they see with the Pepsi Next product.


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Where to Find the Best Food in Super Bowl Village

Sporting events generally aren’t places where you count on finding healthy snacks readily available. Lucas Oil Stadium does have some “real food” (I don’t know if healthy really applies) beyond nachos and hot dogs, so I was hopeful for real options when the Super Bowl came to Indianapolis. While there was not much variety within the Super Bowl Village itself, you will not have to wander far to find something that feels more like a meal than a snack.

The Super Bowl Village, stretching from the Indiana Convention Center to the Bankers Life Fieldhouse (formerly the Conseco Fieldhouse) has plenty of concession stands offering chicken tenders, steak burgers, hot dogs, french fries, soft pretzels, Sweeties gourmet treats, Frito Lay chips, candy, hot cider, coffee, hot chocolate, cappuccino, Gatorade, water, and Pepsi products.

Inside the Indiana Convention Center, which houses the NFL Experience, additional options include Lipton tea, fruit juice, popcorn, whole fresh fruit, Lay’s Potato Chips, Snickers, M&M’s, yogurt, turkey caesar sandwiches, Italian grinder sandwiches, roast beef sandwiches, grilled veggie sandwiches, chicken caesar salad, tossed garden salad. burgers, BBQ pork sandwiches, and tenderloin sandwiches.

Deeper in the NFL Experience, near the memorabilia show and autograph stage, Pepsi Max and Doritos each has an exhibit with free samples, contests, and games. Considering the long lines seen in the NFL Play 60 Game Zone, attendees could have very positive feelings about these exhibits.

Luckily, not far from there in the maze of the NFL Experience, the “Sandwich Zone” offers carved turkey and carved beef for sandwiches with several topping options. They also have candy, soda, water, Gatorade, and Lipton Tea.


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PepsiCo Invests in Pro-Childhood Obesity Lobbying

current Pepsi logoPepsiCo spent $750,000 in lobbying last quarter, which comes to $3 million per year. This amount is small change to a company with $57.8 billion in global sales, but the news highlights the company’s bipolar relationship to consumer health.

Companies are required to disclose their lobbying activities with the Clerk of the House of Representatives and with the Secretary of the Senate. According to PepsiCo’s lobbying report, the company was generally interested in policies concerning childhood obesity and food and beverage labeling. In terms of specific legislation, PepsiCo opposed guidelines being created by the Interagency Working Group on Food Market to Children (IWG), which would limit the way unhealthy foods could be marketed to children. The company has also fought hard to keep soda from being excluded from nutrition assistance programs, such as food stamp programs.

Although PepsiCo has made a number of changes to improve the public conception of how healthy their products are, the money invested in this kind of lobbying betrays these efforts as little more than token concessions to Americans’ increased interest in healthy eating.


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Activision and Pepsi Promote Childhood Obesity

Kids are heavier than ever and get too little exercise, as school physical fitness has nearly evaporated and home activities revolve around computer games. So, to ensure that the computer time is extraordinarily bad for kids’ health, Activision and Pepsi have teamed up in a cross-promotion from Hell.

Activision and Pepsi have come up with “Rank Up XP,” a cross-promotional deal that is implemented via the new video game, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. The offer goes like this: When gamers buy certain Pepsi products, such as Mountain Dew or Doritos, they get redeemable codes to use for “Double XP time” in Call of Duty. Since I’m not familiar with the game, I can only say that it gives people a distinct advantage (presumably in Internet play?).
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