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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?

Pepsi specialDextrin 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:

By Vanessa Martin

1. A Bray G, Pi-Sunyer, FX, E Mulder J. 2012. Weight loss treatment. In UpToDate. En ligne. < >. Consulté le 13 décembre 2012.
2. Wald A, Lipman TO, Grover S. 2012. High-fiber diet. In UpToDate. En ligne. < >. Consulté le 13 décembre 2012.
3. Rosenbloom, Cara. 2009. Les meilleurs aliments pour abaisser le cholesterol. En ligne. < >. Consulté le 13 décembre 2012.

Vanessa Martin

A newcomer to Nautilus Plus, Vanessa Martin holds a degree in nutrition from the Université de Montréal and is a member in good standing of the Ordre professionnel des diététistes du Québec. She also works in the hospital setting and loves to blog in her spare time. Passionate and versatile, Vanessa plans on enhancing her knowledge in the field of psychology with an eye to better guiding and motivating the habit-changing endeavors of her clients. Member of a running club, she enjoys taking part in the competitions organized in her area. Vanessa is currently training for a 21 km race and would like to run her first marathon!

Is There Such a Thing as a Healthy Soft Drink? is a post from I'm taking charge. I'm taking charge is a blog that aims to help people in their journey to fitness through articles on training, nutrition, motivation, exercise and healthy recipes.
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