Is There Such a Thing as a Healthy Soft Drink?
Pepsi Co has recently launched a new soft drink in Japan, the “Special Pepsi”. This soft drink contains an unsuspected ingredient: a kind of dietary fibre called “dextrin”. According to Pepsi, this fibre hinders fat absorption and helps losing weight. Will soft drinks be classified as healthy foods from now on?
The advantages of dextrins
Dextrins are part of the dietary fibre family, more specifically of the “soluble fibre” family. They are found naturally in certain fruits, in oats and barley, as well as in legumes (chick peas, beans, lentils, etc.). Dextrins are also sold as supplements in powder form that can be added to foods or drinks (ex. Benefibre).
In the intestine, soluble fibre binds to cholesterol, preventing the body from absorbing it. Consequently, a diet rich in soluble fibre should help lowering cholesterol levels and reduce risks of heart diseases. In addition, because soluble fibre makes us feel replete, they also help in appetite control and promote weight loss.
What are the disadvantages of these drinks?
Dextrin found in its natural state in foods probably doesn’t have the same effect on the body as artificial dextrin added to a sweet drink. We can also imagine many drawbacks related to the consumption of soft drinks containing this added dietary fibre:
- Side effects such as stomach pain, gas, or bloating can be attributed to dextrin.
- These drinks contain other harmful ingredients with low nutritional value, such as glucose-fructose or phosphoric acid.
- By thinking of these drinks as “healthy”, you will probably be tempted to drink more of them, and in the end you will consume more calories.
- Studies have not yet demonstrated the effect of dextrin on the long term.
As of now, dextrin supplements have not been proven as safe and effective. They are not recommended as a weight loss and cholesterol reduction strategy.
Alternatives to Special Pepsi
You wish to add more soluble fibre to your nutrition? Forget about Special Pepsi or any other fibre supplement, and try these much more practical and nutritive tips:
- Plan at least 3 legume-based meals per week. Try our black beans based quinoa salad and vegetarian quesadillas.
- Integrate oats to your recipes (flakes, flour, or bran). Try our delicious banana, blueberry, and honey pancakes or our homemade granola breakfast, both of which are based on oats.
- Try eggplant, which is rich in soluble fibre. Nothing beats our delicious eggplant pizza!
By Vanessa Martin
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