Starting this month, Pepsi is rolling out a new drink called Pepsi Natural that's made with sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup. The soda company is touting the drink's "all-natural ingredients," including natural caramel and kola nut extract; the glass bottles will even be stocked in natural foods aisles.
Despite the ads from the Corn Refiners Association trying to position HFCS as a "sweet surprise," the New York Times reports that more and more brands are using real sugar as a selling point. Other examples include Pizza's Hut's The Natural pizza, with a crust made with honey, and Healthy Choice All Natural frozen entrees. Both claim to be free of preservatives, but how do we really know what "all natural" means? (Not to mention, it makes me wonder how unnatural Pizza Hut and Pepsi's other products must be.) For my two cents,
In this photo I found on Keacher.com of Pepsi Natural's ingredient list, it appears that the soda also contains "caramel color" and "natural flavor," two vague terms that I'd bet aren't natural at all, and whether it's made from sugar or high-fructose corn syrup, soda still isn't good for you. In the NYT story, Pat Crawford of UC Berkeley's Center for Weight and Health, points out that it used to be sugar that was demonized:
Even though overall consumption of caloric sweeteners is starting to drop, Dr. Crawford says an empty calorie is still an empty calorie. And it does not matter whether people think sugar is somehow "retro," a word used to promote new, sugar-based versions of Pepsi and Mountain Dew called Throwback.
"If people really want to go back to where we were, that means not putting sugar in everything," she said. "It means keeping it to desserts."
Well said, good doctor. Now that I'm done with my rant, tell me: What do you think of these new natural products?