According to a Health Report published by the BBC yesterday; soda manufacturing giant PepsiCo will be removing the controversial artificial sweetener Aspartame from its diet Pepsi product. As of August 2015 an Aspartame free version of diet Pepsi will be on sale, but only in the USA– leading to suspicions that the move has more to do with the concern of falling sales of Pepsi in the US, rather than a genuine concern for consumer health. The report states that sales of Pepsi fell by 5% in 2014 and similarly diet Coke experienced a decrease of 6% .
Aspartame is the generic name for a sugar substitute that is marketed under several brand names such as NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, and Equal-Measure. In addition to soda and the branded products listed above it is likely to be found in almost any product that is labelled as being “Sugar Free“. Although regulators in the US and UK insist that Aspartame is still safe to use in soft beverages, the American public is starting to wake up to the fact that ingesting this chemical might not be such a good thing after all.
An article published on the Mercola .com blog states that Aspartame is responsible for 75% of adverse reactions to food additives that are reported to the FDA, these include symptoms such as dizziness, seizures, rashes and heart palpitations to name but a few. In his book Excitotoxins Dr Russell L. Blaycock explains how an excess of Aspartic acid and Glutamate kills off neuron cells in the brain.The bad news for diet soda fans is that Aspartame constitutes 40% Aspartic Acid; not only this but it is absorbed far more readily in liquid form.
Pepsi is refusing to acknowledge that there is any scientific basis for its decision, but maintains it is merely responding to public opinion, which roughly translates to damage control for falling sales. Regardless, the result is the same, in that Pepsi has been forced to eliminate a substance from its product that the American public is becoming increasingly concerned about.
Social media and online blogs are birthing out a new age of consumer power and influence. With easier access to a richer domain of information it is becoming increasingly harder for companies to deceive the customer. By far the largest sector of influence is the Millennial generation;– in a Forbes publication it was stated that 33% of the Millennial sector would not consider buying an article before consulting some type of Social media or blog.
Although we have seen attempts by certain unscrupulous companies to rig reviews by paying people to express a certain mode of opinion it has done little to curb the genuine reviews such as those found on YouTube. The Pepsi case gives clear evidence that the consumer is gaining back power, and that integrity will ultimately become the supreme weapon against the competition, which can only be good for everyone in the long run.