After testing the waters in Argentina, Chile and the U.K., Coca-Cola will soon be breaking out a new “natural” and “healthy” soda in the U.S. called Coca-Cola Life, a product sweetened with a combination of sugar and stevia. With a considerable reduction in calories over regular Coke (89 calories versus 139), it is being touted as a low-calorie, naturally sweetened beverage. And Coke Life is all bundled up in nice green trappings to hit home the idea that it’s clean, fresh and, by golly, healthier for you. But is it?
To begin with, Coke Life is served up in a “PlantBottle,” a recyclable container composed of 30% vegetable fiber. However, production of this container involves using excessive amounts of water, and being non-biodegradable, these “PlantBottles” only add to our landfill problems.
Surprisingly, stevia is 300 times sweeter than sugar, so a little bit goes a long way. Just what we need in this country . . . for us to grow that sweet tooth even bigger!
Though stevia is deemed a safe product by the FDA, from what I have read, there are some side effects to consider, ranging from nausea/bloating, dizziness, muscle pain to a severe allergic reaction. Stevia can lower the blood pressure for people on blood pressure meds, which is dangerous if you already have low blood pressure. It can interfere with blood sugar control so is not recommended for those taking medications to treat diabetes. And women who are breast feeding need to be aware that stevia is not approved for infant consumption.
So is Coca-Cola trying to pull the wool over the eyes of health conscious consumers? From past experience, I would venture a “yes” to that.