1:04pm

Tue November 13, 2012
Health and Welfare

Japan Approves High-Fiber Version of Pepsi

Let's start here: Way too much of Kentucky is way too fat. And, let's add this, we drink lotsa sugary beverages. Why, our intake of Mountain Dew alone is legendary. So, here comes some news out of Japan which may have particular interest to Kentuckians: This week, Pepsi will start marketing a new product called Pepsi Special that is special indeed, since it has the blessing of that country's National Institute of Health and Nutrition as a "food for specified health use."

That use, you ask? Fat blocking. Let me at it, you say? Hold up, we caution. Pepsi Special is, in a nutshell, Benefiber Pepsi.

According to reporters at the The Atlantic magazine, wheat dextrin is the same additive in Pepsi Special as the one that's sold as Benefiber in the U.S. It's a soluble fiber that "absorbs water as it moves through our intestines and promotes movement of food through the bowel, and contraction of the bowel wall itself." In a 2006 Japanese study, rats that ate wheat dextrin absorbed less fat from their food because, notes the magazine, "It essentially moved right through them."

So, is any of this actually good for you? Dextrin "may increase micronutrient absorption, stabilize blood glucose, lower serum lipids, may prevent several gastrointestinal disorders, and have an accepted role in prevention of cardiovascular disease," experts say. But you still have to restrict your soda intake for any of this to matter. (Read more)