Coca-Cola is fighting back against health critics and defending its use of sugar alternatives like aspartame.
A large advert extolling the virtues and safety of artificial sweeteners was due to run today in issues of USA Today in the Atlanta area.
Attanta, of course, is where Coca-Cola is based. The ad will run in the Atlanta Journal Constitution on Thursday, and the Chicago Tribune next week.
A copy of the ad posted to Twitter by Beverage Digest says: “Our use of high-quality, low- and no- calorie sweeteners, including aspartame, allows us to give people great-tasting options they can feel good about,” reads Time and again, these low- and no-calorie sweeteners have shown to be safe, high-quality alternatives to sugar.”
This is Coca-Cola’s first ad explicitly defending its use of artificial sweeteners. The company launched a campaign this January to defend itself against claims that it contributed to obesity.
In Diet Coke, aspartame has been used as a substitute for sugar for many years.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a huge critic of Coca-Cola. was quick to respond to the ad: “Aspartame has been found to cause cancer—leukemia, lymphoma, and other tumors and it shouldn’t be in the food supply,”
CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson, said: “We certainly want Coca-Cola to shift its product mix toward lower- and no-calorie drinks, but aspartame’s reputation isn’t worth rehabilitating with this propaganda campaign. The company would be better off phasing out its use of aspartame and accelerating its research into safer, natural sweeteners such as those extracted from the stevia plant.”
But this research is suspect so, at least in Diet Coke, Aspartame is likely to continue to be used for the foreseeable future.