Nutrition: Is There Such A Thing As Healthy Cola, by Julie Daniluk

Half of Canadians drink at least one glass of soda a day. It seems a good move to create a ‘Healthy Cola’, but is it really possible?

A new product called Pepsi Special was launched in Japan recently. It claims to prevent the absorption of fat. How, you may ask? It contains dextrin, an indigestible fiber that in the right dosage has been shown to reduce fat absorption. But the small amount of dextrin in the beverage does not compensate for eating a large double cheese pizza. My concern is that people will feel they can enjoy more fat because this product promises to block it.

As William Davis covers in his hugely successful book, Wheat Belly, a major cause of bloating and belly fat is consumption of wheat products. It is interesting that the dextrin in Pepsi Special is extracted from wheat starch, so avoid if you have gluten intolerance. Did you know that dextrin is also used to bind together ingredients to make children’s glue? Not really something you think of as a health ingredient. My biggest concern is that dextrin is a fibre that you can’t digest, but the microbes in your gut can eat the dextrin and turn it into methane gas and alcohol! That translates to stomachaches and gas pain.

That brings me to the next major point, that sugar-free drinks increase sugar cravings. The taste of intense sweet on the tongue causes a release of insulin. Because you have not had any sugar, the insulin will shuttle the last of the sugar in your bloodstream into your cells and then you will CRASH! You will crave carbs and end up eating up to 500 calories more!

Pepsi is not a health product. It contains caramel colouring that can cause cancer. Check out my blog post on that here: Are Pepsi And Coca-Cola Evil?

Try natural alternatives:

  • Coconut water- full of minerals and just 60 little calories
  • Herbal tea- calorie free and rich in anti-oxidants
  • Stevia sweetened lemonade- alkalizing and healthy for digestion.


Julie Daniluk, RHN, hosts Healthy Gourmet, a reality cooking show that highlights the ongoing battle between taste and nutrition by using unique groups such as bikers, dragon boat racers and ballroom dancers to challenge their taste buds with nutritious foods. Julie is excited that her show was chosen to be part of OWN (the Oprah Winfrey Network). Similar to Oprah’s book club, programs on OWN explore stories of strength and transformation. Television viewers also recognize Julie from her “busted” segments on The Right Fit (W Network) and The Marilyn Dennis Show (CTV) where she examines the foods people need to stay healthy, acting as a nutrition encyclopedia. Her fun and engaging style comes in handy when she creates a recipe a week that is packed with health tips for Her best-selling book Meals That Heal Inflammation is available in stores now.