Healthy Pepsi! Yeah right…

A picture of my bottle. Note the Japanese government seal of approval of this as a drink for special health usage.

Last week Pepsi Company launched “Pepsi Special” in Japan.  Approved and regulated by the government of Japan, the soda contains the dietary fiber Dextrin, which is claimed to regulate digestion and block the absorption of fat in the body from foods.

So is there anything to these claims?  Perhaps, but the odds are small.  According to a study in 2006, rats given dextrin did not absorb as much fat from their food, but studies have not been done on  people.  In addition, when given too much dextrin, people tend to get sick, complaining of bloating, stomach cramps and other digestive issues.

At the end of the day, Pepsi Special is still a soda, and encouraging soda consumption of any sort still leads to more sugar and ultimately obesity issues.  Fortifying soda is no substitute from getting fiber from natural sources like fruit, vegetables and whole grains.

What about the taste, you might ask?  Actually, Pepsi special tastes more like regular Pepsi than Diet Pepsi does.  It does not have a film to it, and it has almost no chemical aftertaste.  When refrigerated, it tastes quite nice, and the amount of carbonation is appropriate for a low-calorie soda.

In general, I’ve found that if  claim seems too good to be true then it generally is.  But if you’re  a Pepsi drinker anyway, there’s no harm in trying Pepsi special.  But if you’re not partial to cola anyway, then don’t bother.

Summer Pepsi in Japan

Every summer, Pepsi comes out with a new flavor in Japan.  This summer it was, as you can see here, salty watermelon flavor.  It’s a limited engagement type of thing – it only lasts from late June through August, and then it is gone from the shelves.  A follower of mine on Twitter, @TheTokyoFiles, (See his blog at The Tokyo Files) tells me that it tasted like mild pickle juice.  I am not sure that’s such a ringing endorsement, but it is descriptive.  Most often these summer sodas have less carbonation than other sodas in order to enhance the flavor.  I’m sure it was an interesting, if not fully enjoyable, experience.  I can’t wait til next year to see what the Pepsi company will come out with next!