Pepsi’s diet soda lineup is no longer using aspartame. The company on Monday announced a new blend of sucralose for its lineup. Included in the change are Caffeine Free Diet Pepsi and Wild Cherry Diet Pepsi. The company made the change after thousands of customers complained about the possible negative health consequences created because of aspartame.
Sucralose is best known by its commercial name, Splenda. Aspartame is better known as Equal or NutraSweet.
According to Pepsi’s North American CEO Al Carey, diet drinks “are a definite drag on the business… And the number one thing we see from consumers is a complaint about aspartame,” he said. ” Aspartame is the sweetener that seems to get most of the negatives in the press and on YouTube.”
The company also offers a new low-calorie option that uses a plant-based sweetener known as stevia. That alternative can be found in the Pepsi True product.
A 1970s study linked aspartame to cancer in lab rats. There have been no studies linking the sweeteners to human health risks, according to the federal government.
Diet Pepsi sold in other countries will still use aspartame where legally allowed. The company says it continues to stand behind the safety of aspartame.
In the meantime, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, and other beverage companies have watched diet soda sales decline as American consumers gravitate towards iced tea and other more health drink options.