Imagine, a carbonated soft drink so benign that even Mayor Michael Bloomberg would allow vendors to supersize it. In fact, “Pepsi Special” would probably have Bloomie’s blessings. What makes the latest incarnation of the iconic soda so special is its professed ability to absorb fat from foods consumed along with it. Think of it: You order a double bacon cheeseburger, large fries, and a soda, scarf down the fat-laden feast and then just wait for the pounds melt away.
You’re probably wondering what the catch is. There are two of them actually. First is the price, which is upward of $1,000. If that sounds like a lot to pay for a bottle of soda, it’s because the cost includes round-trip airfare to Japan, which is where the product was rolled out on Tuesday, according to CBS Pittsburgh. For the foreseeable future, the Floating Kingdom will remain the only venue where Pepsi Special is marketed.
Second is the health angle. The product contains Dextrin, a dietary fiber that supposedly interferes with the body’s absorption of fat while lowering cholesterol levels. It’s a claim that the Food and Drug Administration is not yet on board with, but the real kicker is that some forms of Dextrin are used as a laxative. CBS reporters spoke with Point Park University professor Elaine Luther, who once worked for a pharmaceutical firm. “If you’re not absorbing it” she told them, “it has to go somewhere.”
Skeptics of the skepticism (aka, those who would like to eat their cake and have it too) will note that the FDA has already approved the wheat-derived form of Dextrin as an agent for natural colon cleansing that does not cause diarrhea. I have one word for those people: Olean. Marketed in the late 1990s as a cooking oil under the brand name Olestra and used by potato chip manufacturers, Olean also won FDA approval. It still has FDA backing even though food maker abandoned Olean long after ago after they determined that foods cooked in it cause abdominal cramping and loose stools.
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