The Unfortunate Truth About the New Fat-Fighting Foods
WATCH OUT! “Pepsi Special” is now being marketed in Japan as a healthy soda that prevents the accumulation of fat.
Japan’s National Institute of Health and Nutrition has labeled this form of Pepsi a “FOSHU” product because it contains fiber in the form of water-soluble dextrin, a substance thought to help people lose weight. FOSHU stands for “Food for Specified Health Uses.” Sodas previously given the FOSHU label have sold extremely well to their target audience: men and women in their 30s and 40s. The drink will be sold solely in Japan as of now, but of course, company execs would love to get another hold on the U.S. market.
However, the U.S. FDA has had a pretty strong record of denying or calling out junk food companies that advertise their products as “healthy” in some way. Much of that policy is rooted in psychology. Health officials don’t want people thinking that bad food is actually good, so the addition of supposedly healthy ingredients (and the marketing of the product thereof) is discouraged. Second of all, the efficacy of dextrin is dubious.
Are they effective?
Presumably, no. Actual evidence of their benefit is scant. While a 2006 study did demonstrate dextrin’s ability to reduce the amount of fat absorbed from diet, the test was conducted on rats. The effect has never been tested in humans. Dr. Walter Willett, the Harvard School of Public Health’s chair of nutrition, told Time Magazine,
“Unless Pepsi can provide data from controlled studies in humans to the contrary, their claim should be regarded as bogus and deceptive.”
Dietary fiber is known to help us feel fuller after a meal. Because it cannot be digested, fiber also helps naturally escort toxins from the body. What fiber will not do, though, is counteract the overwhelming volume of sugar common to many sodas.
Sugar can disrupt the function of the hormones insulin and leptin, both of which are crucial to maintaining a healthy body weight and proper blood sugar levels. We don’t know the exact sugar content of Pepsi Special because it is not listed on Pepsi’s website.
Just as damaging are the synthetic ingredients commonly found in soda, including high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, colorings and preservatives. These man-made chemicals can disrupt healthy hormone function and cause you to develop a hormonal resistance to healthy weight loss.
A Better Option
Treat fat-fighting Pepsi like you would treat an as-seen-on-TV infomercial: While it may seem amazing, its actual effect is probably less than impressive. Skip soda regardless of its marketing campaign. Instead, stay hydrated with properly filtered water.
It is important to make sure you’re eating adequate amounts of dietary fiber, as it has a multitude of health benefits (from the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the National Institutes of Health):
- Regulates digestion.
- Absorbs vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
- Balances blood sugar.
- Reduces triglycerides (fats in the bloodstream).
- May help prevent gastro intestinal disorders and cardiovascular disease.
Fiber is an integral part of quality nutrition, but it is always best to get your fiber from natural sources like sweet potatoes, artichokes and zucchini—not soda.
Don’t get caught up in all the “Fad” Weight Loss Schemes. While there are definitely some “tricks” to help you lose weight, some information you might not have that makes the process a bit easier, the truth is: losing weight takes work. If you expect to drink your favorite soda, sit back and watch the pounds melt off, you’ve got another thing coming.
Both of us have given many, many seminars, webinars and lectures to patients regarding how to go about losing weight. We highly recommend you join us at the next event to get the details for yourself. But in terms of fiber, here’s a tip.
Only soluble fiber is useful for weight loss. This means that when it interacts with water in your body, it turns into a gelatinous substance that slows digestion. Insoluble fiber, conversely, simply adds bulk to your poop.
Examples of soluble fiber: nuts, seeds, beans, lentils
Examples of insoluble fiber: wheat bran, whole grains, vegetable matter (i.e. celery stalks or potatoes).
Foods that contain insoluble fiber often have health benefits not related to fiber or weight loss, so don’t go thinking you should get rid of them altogether–they just won’t help you lose weight.
If you want to learn more about the best foods and activities for weight loss, stay abreast of our events and come to the next weight loss-themed seminar or watch the next weight loss-themed webinar. We look forward to seeing you.