The recipes are similar but the amount of sweeteners used are slightly different.
Pepsi Max has a different carbonation as well, with smaller bubbles to give the drinker the feel for a smoother fizziness which the brain will also associate with a better taste and sensation of sweetness.
There are caramel and vanilla notes in Pepsi Max thus making it better not only on its own but also perfect for mixing with dark spirits (bourbon, rum, brandy, whiskey etc).
Pepsi Max is sweetened by a combination of Aspartame and Acesulfame Potassium.
Aspartame is an extremely well known nonnutritive sweetener, probably one of the most well known. It is 200 times sweeter than sugar. It is metabolized into aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol. Aspartic acid and phenylalanine are amino acids and as such are caloric, containing 4 calories per gram, though they have a much higher TEF than sugar, so it’s effective calorie count is closer to 3/gram. That said, since it’s 200 times sweeter than sugar, they only need 1/200th of the amount to get the same effect.
As a result, because of the amount of aspartame in a bottle of Pepsi Max you’re getting less that a single Calorie from the metabolized amino acids…as compared to 250 calories in a normal soda.
Acesulfame potassium is another NNS that’s as sweet as aspartame. It is not absorbed by the body and it’s usually used in conjunction with aspartame because they both have a bitter aftertaste, when used together the aftertaste cancelled out.
Will it make you gain weight?
Immediately after you drink a bottle you’ll be 20 oz heavier. That should not be in dispute.
You may retain some of the water over a short period of time, causing you to maintain some of that 20 oz for a time. By itself it will not cause you to gain weight.
Additionally, none of the sweeteners elicit an insulin response, so they’re fine for diabetics. If you normally consume caloric drinks and use Pepsi Max to replace them, you will actually likely lose weight. Pepsi Max will not cause you to lose weight on it’s own, either, however, it’s the fact that you’re no longer consuming 250 calories per bottle that will help to create a caloric deficit.
The primary concerns about these artificial sweeteners are that they potentially could create a “sweetness craving” some studies have shown that people are more hungry after consuming aspartame laden drinks rather than water.
There have also been some mice studies indicating a change in gut microflora with the consumption of acesulfame K. I haven’t seen if this has been examined in humans yet, though it’s much more difficult to test this on humans. It’s simple enough to enact change on your gut flora, however, as it changes rapidly with diet.
If you’re concerned, eat more fibrous plants.
If you, as a person, want to avoid weight gain while consuming Pepsi Max, simply be cognizant of your consumption and avoid snacking. Also, eat more veggies.
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