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Diet Pepsi is getting rid of aspartame, but Diet Coke is keeping it

The sweetener has been extensively studied, but there are some concerns over it.

Image: Apexchange

PEPSICO SAY IT’S dropping aspartame from Diet Pepsi in response to customer worries and replacing it with sucralose, another artificial sweetener commonly known as Splenda.

The decision to swap sweeteners comes as Americans keep turning away from popular diet sodas. Rival Coca-Cola said this week that sales volume for Diet Coke, which also uses aspartame, fell 5 percent in North America in the first three months of the year.

Atlanta-based Coca-Cola said in a statement that it has no plans to change the sweetener in Diet Coke, which is the world’s top-selling diet cola.

The US Food and Drug Administration says aspartame, known by the brand names Equal and NutraSweet, is “one of the most exhaustively studied substances in the human food supply, with more than 100 studies supporting its safety.”

More recently, a government advisory committee for the US Department of Agriculture’s dietary guidelines said aspartame appears to be safe in the amounts consumed by Americans.

But it added that there is still uncertainty about whether the sweetener increases risk for some blood cancers in men.

Executives at Coke and Pepsi blame the declines on perceptions that the sweetener isn’t safe.

John Sicher, publisher of industry tracker Beverage Digest, noted that attitudes about aspartame can be very negative. Using an online tool called Topsy that measures Twitter sentiment on a scale of 0 to 100, he noted “aspartame” got a 22 ranking, below a 38 ranking for “Congress.”

By comparison, “love” had a ranking of 96 and “Christmas” had a ranking of 88.

Read: How is the new green Coke different from the rest?

Read: Coca-Cola is redesigning its packaging so all of its flavours look the same

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Associated Press

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