Coke started a new print ad series today in the Atlanta area that focus on reassuring customers that aspartame, or artificial sweetener, is perfectly safe to consume.
Titled "Quality Products You Can Always Feel Good About," the ads aim at consumers who enjoy diet drinks but are concerned about the ingredients. The company has had to fight back against groups who say they contribute to the obesity problem in the U.S. with their sugary soft-drinks, and the hope is that they can highlight the benefits of Diet Coke and Coke Zero for people who are trying to lose weight.
"Time and again, these low- and no-calorie sweeteners have shown to be safe, high-quality alternatives to sugar," the ad states. "In fact, the safety of aspartame is supported by more than 200 studies over the last 40 years."
Company spokesman Ben Scheidler said, "We created this print ad to address their concerns and make it easier for them to get the facts."
But while some studies have shown that aspartame doesn't cause cancer, some are still worried that there are other adverse effects that just haven't been discovered yet. And there are still other studies that do show a link between cancer and the artificial sweetener.
"Three independent studies have found that aspartame causes cancer. These studies, in our view, are superior to earlier, industry-sponsored studies that found it did not cause cancer because they used a larger pool of subjects and a more sensitive protocol," said Lisa Lefferts, senior scientist for Center for Science in the Public Interest.
"Even if (aspartame is) 100 percent safe to use, it's still problematic from a nutrition standpoint," said Andy Bellatti, a registered dietitian. Bellatti is among a growing number of people who are choosing products with only natural ingredients.
As of now, the stance that the Coca-Cola company is taking is that the sweetener is a safe alternative to non-diet drinks, and they have set up a website called the Beverage Institute for Health and Wellness for anyone who wants to learn more about what goes into their drinks and how those ingredients can affect one's health.