In what could be seen as the latest desperate attempt to get cola drinkers to choose what my Southern ex-brother-in-law will only refer to as "the P-word," Pepsi Co. is launching a new version that it claims acts as a fat blocker, the Daily Mail reports.
Pepsi Special is made with dextrin -- an indigestible form of dietary fiber sold as Benefiber in the U.S. It is also commonly used in glue. Studies on rats have suggested dextrin can reduce the absorption of fat in the body and lower cholesterol levels.
There is no information about how much sugar Pepsi Special contains compared to regular Pepsi, but a spokesman told the Mail it would have a "crisp refreshing and unique" aftertaste. (Dextrin is said to have a rather unpleasant aftertaste, which could account for the "unique.")
The drink, which will first be sold (starting today) in Japan -- a country without a big obesity problem but whose populace loves weird stuff -- comes in a "luxury" gold-and-black bottle with the Pepsi logo emblazoned on the side. In the past, Pepsi has sold cucumber and yogurt-flavored colas in Japan. This Christmas season they will be selling tangerine-flavored Pepsi White.
Pepsi hopes Pepsi Special will have the same runaway success as the dextrin-rich Japanese beverage Kirin Mets Cola.
There is no word yet on if and when Pepsi Special will go on sale in the U.S and elsewhere.
Sue Baic, a spokesperson from the British Dietetic Assn., told the Mail she was sceptical about Pepsi Special's health claims. Saying that there haven't been any studies that show dextrin works in people, "I think this drink is unlikely to make much difference to how much fat you absorb,' she said.
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"I suggest a higher fiber diet with fruit, vegetables and whole grains would be a better way to fill you up and make you feel less hungry," Baic said. "Plus then you would get the benefits of all the vitamins and minerals as well."
As an added bonus, you wouldn't have to drink Pepsi.