A new class-action lawsuit has been filed against the soft drink industry in the US for its use of the word “diet” due to the use of artificial sweetener.
The lawsuit, filed against the Pepsi-Cola company, Coca-Cola Company, and Doctor Pepper/Snapple Group, contends the word “diet” is “false, misleading and unlawful” and makes consumers “reasonably believe” the sodas are a diet aid.
Therefore, consumers could mistakenly believe drinking diet soda will assist in weight loss or management.
People have questioned the actual dietary benefit of diet beverages since their inception in the late 50s and 60s — so it’s not a new thing. Many diet sodas and beverages use an artificial sweetener called Aspartame — which some studies have linked to causing health issues.
However, there’s no definitive proof to link Aspartame to health issues such as cancer. Aspartame is made by joining together the amino acids aspartic acid and phenylalanine. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and are found naturally in many foods.
Furthermore, the suit claims that Aspartame does not help in the body’s ability to metabolize calories and that’s where the problem lies. Although the studies cited in the lawsuit don’t show conclusively that aspartame directly causes weight gain, several do show a correlation between diet soda consumption and obesity.
However, when they say “consumption” what exactly do they mean? Is the person consuming one soda a day or several? Obviously, consuming several diet sodas a day is not good for your health. Soda is soda regardless of the word “diet” so it’s best in moderation.
In a statement, the American Beverage Association said the allegations in the new class-action lawsuit are completely without merit and that diet beverages do assist people with managing their diets.
“Diet beverages that contain zero or barely any calories at all have repeatedly been shown to help people manage their diets,” The American Beverage Association said.
Despite this, UCLA Health Senior Dietitian Dana Hunnes said that science has shown that Aspartame and diet sodas are just as unhealthy as non-diet sodas.
“I think from a weight loss perspective the science is showing that there may not really be much of a difference between diet and non-diet sodas.”