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Diet Pepsi Drops Aspartame... For Splenda

Is one artificial sweetener really better than another?

John Ashley/Flickr

Diet Pepsi is dropping the artificial sweetener aspartame over customer concern. According to the Associated Press, people are worried about the health affects of aspartame. There is uncertainty surrounding whether or not the "sweetener increases risk for some blood cancers in men." The AP adds that attitudes towards aspartame are incredibly negative. Topsy — an online tool that measures Twitter sentiment — has aspartame ranked much lower than Congress, even.

While the Food and Drug Administration has deemed aspartame to be safe, Pepsi is convinced it is hindering sales. Seth Kaufman, the vice president of the company, tells AP that "aspartame is the number one reason consumers are dropping diet soda." So, Pepsi is replacing the aspartame in all of its Diet Pepsi products with another artificial sweetener called sucralose — which is often referred to as the brand name Splenda. He notes that in tests, the only change people recognized was that there was a "slightly different mouthfeel."

While Pepsi is swapping out their sweetener, Coke has no plans to change their formula — maybe because Diet Coke is the top selling diet cola in the country. The new Pepsi cans will hit shelves in August.

A growing number of big food brands are swapping out ingredients over customers' health concerns. McDonald's recently declared that it would no longer source chickens and dairy treated with human antibiotics. And earlier this week, Kraft announced that its famed Macaroni & Cheese will soon be free of artificial preservatives and synthetic colors.

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