NEW YORK (PIX11) – Amid declining sales of diet soda, Coca-Cola plans to run an advertisement Wednesday defending the use of aspartame, the artificial sweetener in Diet Coke.
Aspartame, commonly known as NutraSweet, is an effective way for people to limit calories when drinking soda, and can help people manage their weight and stresses, the company claims.
The first print ad will appear in the pages of USA Today in the Atlanta area, the Associated Press reports, with similar spots running in the Atlanta Journal Constitution on Thursday and the Chicago Tribune the next week.
“Consumer safety concerns regarding aspartame often stem from a misunderstanding of its metabolism, and animal studies that have been misinterpreted to infer that aspartame could increase hunger and food intake,” according to the Coca-Cola website. “However, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and an independent international expert review panel have confirmed that aspartame does not cause cancer, seizures or other health problems, and an evidence-based research review by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics confirms aspartame does not increase in appetite or food intake.”
Although the Food and Drug Administration has also ruled aspartame safe for consumption, some soda drinkers are still skeptical about the long-term effects of drinking the artificial sweetener.
The company is trying to bolster flagging sales, a sign of changing attitudes toward soft drinks that has affected both Coca-Cola and its rival, PepsiCo Inc. Sales for regular Coke dropped one percent from last year, while Diet Cole dropped three percent. The decline in sales was even more precipitous for Pepsi, with regular Pepsi falling 3.4 percent, and Diet Pepsi 6.2 percent.