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Is Pepsi's New “Fat-Fighting” Soda Legit?

A Japanese drink with added dietary fiber claims to block fat absorption—but that doesn't mean it's actually healthy. Here's the whole truth.

Look out —Pepsi has taken the soda wars to the next level, with a new ‘fat-fighting” drink.

“Pepsi Special,” currently available only in Japan, contains dextrin, a type of dietary fiber that dissolves in water and is found in supplements like Benefiber. In a news release, Pepsi’s partner company in Japan said that the drink acts by “suppressing the absorption of fat” and slowing the increase in triglycerides after a meal—potentially making it the world's first “healthy” soda.

But do the health claims add up?

A 2006 study by Japanese researchers found that rats fed dextrin for 28 days had lower triglyceride levels, but the long-term effects in people are unknown. And unsurprisingly, nutrition experts have cried foul."You shouldn’t add good things to bad things because that could encourage people to eat something that isn’t healthy for them,” Michael Jacobson, Executive Director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), told TIME's Healthland.

Fiber, of course, does have health benefits—it contributes to weight maightenance by making you feel more full, helps regulate the digestive system, lowers cholesterol levels, and may also decrease your risk of heart disease. But instead of  taking it down with lots of empty calories, all you have to do is eat a diet rich in healthy whole foods that are naturally high in fiber, like beans, brown rice, fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain cereals. 

They may not be flashing their health claims all over fancy new packaging...but they're true all the same.

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