Diet Pepsi to Drop Aspartame, But Picks Poor Replacement

Aspartame has a lower public ranking than Congress

By Heather Callaghan

Associated Press has just reported PepsiCo’s announcement to drop the artificial sweetener aspartame from its Diet Pepsi in response to customer feedback. If that were all to the story, than it would be great news, as aspartame has been outed as a dangerous excitotoxin with shady beginnings that involve both Monsanto and Donald Rumsfeld.

A concerted effort from doctors and independent researchers has finally led to critical mass among consumers who now have the wherewithal to drop the substance from their diet. This is no doubt also bolstered by recent studies finally admitting that aspartame creates more obesity, even though for years the marketing insisted on just the opposite. For many years, it was marketed by Big Food and even dietitians as a safe alternative for diabetics.

Volumes for diet soda products have been falling since 2005, more so in the last couple of years, and rapidly in the first few months of this year. Pepsi’s vice President said that aspartame is the number one reason customers are dropping their diet sodas, and all their diet brands will be replaced with the new formula.

AP reports:

The decision to swap sweeteners comes as Americans keep turning away from popular diet sodas. Competitor Coca-Cola said this week that sales volume for Diet Coke, which also uses aspartame, fell 5 percent in North America in the first three months of the year.


John Sicher, publisher of industry tracker Beverage Digest, noted that attitudes about aspartame can be very negative. Using an online tool called Topsy that measures Twitter sentiment on a scale of 0 to 100, he noted “aspartame” got a 22 ranking, below a 38 ranking for “Congress.”

Unfortunately, Pepsi has chosen to replace aspartame with sucralose, which is no up-trade at all. Sucralose is better known as Splenda and is another lab created sweetener with questionable human-health effects. Women-to-Women, in a lengthy expose, reports, “Splenda is … a synthetic compound stumbled upon in 1976 by scientists in Britain seeking a new pesticide formulation.” is tracking consumer health complaints, especially gastrointestinal problems.

Additionally, the new formula which will be on shelves by August will still contain acesulfame potassium, or ace-K, which was added to the product in 2012. The AP report admits that, “Aspartame can be sensitive to heat and breaks down easily.” This is something individual researchers had been crying out about since at least the 1990s, but were dismissed. When sucralose breaks down, it releases toxic dioxin, a component of pesticides and Agent Orange. History repeats.

Perhaps those who have a higher understanding of whole body health, have not offered feed back to PepsiCo about better alternatives because they dropped the products long ago. It appears Pepsi is banking on its current customers’ ignorance in order to keep them instead of trying to gain lost customers.

Both the companies’ executives, in a typical move, subtly chided consumers by blaming them for their negative perception of aspartame, and still stand by the FDA in claiming that Equal and NutraSweet (aspartame) are nothing but safe with more “than 100 studies.”

In a strange turn of events, Coca-cola is light years ahead of the marketing curb by introducing Coca-cola Life (TM) which has real cane sugar, stevia to reduce overall sugar content, is presumably non-GMO and is contained in glass bottles. They be aiming to squeeze out the profitable health cola market. This is not a promotion of the product or company, but rather an example of a company paying keen attention to consumer demand, instead of making a cheap artificial sweetener swap for short-term gains. However, will customers forgive the cola companies for making them fat and not listening?

Consumer demand is compelling private companies to stop using toxic substances and relying on FDA ramblings, because the bottom-line is top priority. The real triumph and trust when science and the medical community start saying NO to lucrative corporate influence, but that requires seeing people instead of dollar signs.

Heather Callaghan is a natural health blogger and food freedom activist. You can see her work at and Like at Facebook.


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