Is fat-blocking Pepsi for real?

Japanese soda drinkers are getting a taste of a new Pepsi that purports to rid the body of fat. But don't look for this intestinal calamity-in-a-bottle in the US anytime soon.

By Jason Notte Nov 14, 2012 4:07PM

Credit: Suntory Holdings Limited
Caption: Pepsi SpecialHow do you drink a sugary soda without immediately processing it into love-handle cellulite or a winter layer of thigh fat? By pushing it out of your system as soon as possible, of course.

Japan got the first crack at this concept Tuesday when Pepsi (PEP) distributor Suntory debuted Pepsi Special, a "fat-blocking" soda laden with "indigestible dextrin." Let the "indigestible" portion of that description linger for a few minutes, because that's about all the time drinkers are going to have with it.

That's just straight-up fiber, and it's going to do what dietary fiber does to human beings. It's not going to block fat: It's going to serve as fat's burly bouncer and throw it out of your system in the quickest fashion possible. It'll fill you up, but -- not to get too scatological -- it'll do the toughest part of its job by emptying you out. Consider it best enjoyed with some free time and expendable reading material.

Oh, and a few grains of salt. The science supporting Pepsi Special's claim is speculative at best. Forbes cited a 2006 Japanese study that found rats given dextrin absorbed less fat than those that didn't. It also gave the nod to some University of Washington research from 2001 that found dextrin added to beverages made drinkers feel more full and knocked about 72 calories' worth of intake off subsequent meals. Even the Japanese Ministry of Health slapped a label on Pepsi Special indicating it "is intended to be consumed for the maintenance/promotion of health or special health uses by people who wish to control health conditions, including blood pressure or blood cholesterol."

This is just about the last thing that soda-guzzling America needs to hear. Half of U.S. consumers already swig a glass of soda a day, according to Gallup. They're not going to care that only the fiber typically found in grains, seeds, vegetables and fruits is proven to have the cholesterol-crushing effects that Suntory is trying to replicate with the synthetic fiber in Pepsi Special. They just want to have a fizzy brown drink at a movie without spending an extra 15 to 20 minutes in the gym afterward.

The Food and Drug Administration will have none of it. Soft drinks fortified with nutrients are typically blocked by the FDA to prevent them from making these kind of health claims in the U.S.

Sorry to flatten your 3-liter dreams, fatty, but the soda-machine equivalent of Jamie Lee Curtis' digestive yogurt isn't coming stateside anytime soon. Besides, remember when we thought we had our chip cravings figured out with Olestra, only to collectively recoil in horror at the ensuing "leakage" issues? Yeah, not doing that again.

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Tags: PEP
Nov 14, 2012 9:16PM
ship it to Washington...lots of fat in congress that could get cut
Nov 14, 2012 8:35PM
Next thing they're telling you is it could be harmful to your health.
Nov 15, 2012 2:48AM
While I have no interest in personally drinking this stuff, and am glad they are explaining what's wrong with it, to hear that the FDA is blocking this as well as soda with added nutrients is a little close to a police state for my comfort.  I thought their job was to protect us from harmful foods, yet french fries are somehow still legal in this country?  Unless Americans truly are that much more stupid than the Japanese, that we really need a babysitter, I think the FDA should allow people a little more independence of choice.  I assume that soda with nutrients is no more inherently harmful than soda without nutrients, so where's the justification in only allowing soda without nutrients?  Especially if, as this article claims, Americans still consume soda daily?  Why can't they just run articles like this that remind us that orange soda with added vitamin C is still orange soda?
Nov 14, 2012 6:42PM
I'm a little confused on how a fat blocking Pepsi article ends up in the Money/Investing tab on MSN!? It also seems like this article was written by a high school student(referring to the "fatty" comment). MSN is becoming a little pathetic with their articles!
Nov 14, 2012 9:27PM
You could sell it in america as a laxative. (joke)
Nov 15, 2012 12:15AM
Some pills offered a while ago blocked fat absorbtion but caused "pooped pants" Does this stuff do the same?
Nov 15, 2012 7:57AM
Watch out for the rectal leakage side effect, Japan.
Nov 15, 2012 8:56AM
And God forbid someone who is already sensative to the fake sugars drinks this- they will NEVER leave the toilet without a diaper.
Nov 15, 2012 6:47AM
I'm pretty sure green tea and rice accomplish this, and fish isn't exactly high in fat - why do they need this in Japan, as opposed to the South?
Nov 15, 2012 12:30AM
This is the MOST ridiculous thing ever to hit the news...PEPSI with a fat blocker??? SORRY PEPSI...your Diet Soda has killed more ppl I know than cigarrettes! Drink water, lay off the salt and sugar and carbs, STOP eating out all the time and make dinner and things at home....USE your head ppl there is not one quick fix int he world except diet and exercise. dangerous...Diet sodas..ALL of them have something called Aspartame in it and Pheylphaline...both are directly linked to cancer and other nasty diseases....DON"T BUY IT.
Nov 15, 2012 12:17AM
Nov 15, 2012 1:50AM
Nov 14, 2012 11:24PM
The bull roar one reads about today is amazing.
Nov 14, 2012 9:40PM
comparing  yogurt  to a laxative? is that a scientific "leap of faith" statement or just multitasking error of thought?
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