Coca-Cola just came out with Coke Plus, a new zero-calorie, sugar-free soda with added fiber. We’ve heard of fiber-enriched cereal and bread, but fiber-fortified soda seems more than a little absurd.
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At the same time, Americans really can use more fiber in their diets. While the average daily fiber intake for Americans is 16 grams, the recommended amount is more like 25 to 30 grams. While Coke Plus is only available in Japan for now, companies often test products in one market before rolling them out worldwide.
The new Coke Plus formula has five grams of added dextrin, a dietary supplement for those who need more of the nutrient. Coke’s website claims that the new product is made for the “health-conscious consumer” and that “drinking one Coca-Cola Plus per day with food will help suppress fat absorption and help moderate the levels of triglycerides in the blood after eating.”
There’s no doubt that there are many health benefits to upping your fiber intake. Fiber can lower your cholesterol levels, thereby indirectly working to prevent heart disease and stroke. It makes you feel fuller, so you don’t overeat. It keeps your digestive system regular and is effective in helping irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis. What’s more, it helps to control blood sugar levels and prevent Type 2 diabetes.
But is a fiber-rich soda really necessary? It’s easy to get dietary fiber in the form of fruits, veggies and beans, none of which have artificial sweeteners like the ones found in Coke Plus. And if you’re asking what’s so bad about artificial sweeteners, just know that they have been proven to boost sugar cravings and bring on glucose intolerance by changing your gut bacteria. What’s more, drinking diet soda has recently been linked to dementia and stroke.
So, if you’re curious, go ahead and crack open a Coke Plus — but do so knowing you’d be better off getting a good dose of fiber from a salad with avocados and chickpeas.
Vivian Manning-Schaffel is a journalist, essayist, senior copywriter and rabble-rouser who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
What Do YOU Think?
Would you drink the new Coke Plus? Do you think soda is a good way to get your nutrients, or is there a better way to up your fiber intake?