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Healthy Soda?

Coca-Cola and PepsiCo introduce soft drinks with vitamins

By Tiffany Chaparro | null null , null

This is an image of Pepsi-Cola and Coca-Cola vending machines.
Pepsi-Cola and Coca-Cola vending machines side-by-side on May 16, 2005. (Photo: Richard B. Levine/Photographer Showcase/NewsCom)

March 7, 2007

When people want a healthy drink, they usually reach for a bottle of water or juice. What about a healthy soda? Two leading soft-drink companies, Coco-Cola and PepsiCo, are preparing to launch new soft drinks enriched with added vitamins and minerals.

"We want to reinvent carbonated soft drinks," said John Compton, president of PepsiCo.

Regular soda has been under attack in recent years. Some studies have linked soda consumption with increasing levels of obesity in children.

Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are now trying to change their images and meet growing consumer demand for healthy drinks. These vitamin-enriched soft drinks will be promoted as "sparkling beverages."

Tava, PepsiCo’s new health drink, will be introduced this fall. This drink will have vitamins B3, B6, E, and chromium, a mineral.

PepsiCo is also planning to market another product, called Diet Pepsi Max. This drink will contain extra caffeine and ginseng. The company is hoping the drink will compete with energy drinks like Red Bull.

Diet Coke Plus will hit the shelves this spring. The drink will have vitamins B3, B6 and B12, and the minerals magnesium and zinc.

How Healthy?

Some health food advocates are not so sure that these sodas will actually be good for you.

Tom Pirko is president of Bevmark, a food-and-beverage consulting firm. He told the New York Times that it was "a joke" to market diet soft drinks as healthy, even if they do have added vitamins.

Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington, D.C., is somewhat more positive.

"These beverages are certainly a lot better than a regular soft drink," he said.

But Jacobson also pointed out that people are better off getting their nutrients from natural foods, like fruits and vegetables, instead of from enriched soft drinks.


Critical Thinking Question

Read today's news story, and then answer the following question.

Do you think “healthier” sodas are a good idea? Why or why not?

Join a discussion of this question on our bulletin board .


About the Author

Tiffany Chaparro is a contributing writer for Scholastic News Online.

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