Target: Muhtar Kent, CEO of Coca-Cola
Goal: Stop using the artificial sweetener aspartame in diet versions of soft drinks.
Diet soda is supposed to be a “healthy” alternative for the weight-conscious or the diabetic. For years it was advertised as the ideal beverage for people trying to lose weight simply because it had no sugar in it, but an increasing pool of research suggests that the beverages can be quite harmful to human health.
Sugar may not be the most wholesome substance there is, and it can indeed lead to obesity and other health issues. But for years, artificial sweeteners have been touted as “healthier” or “better for you” despite much evidence to the contrary. The research has been going on since the 1980s, in fact, and medical science is finding more and more evidence against the supposedly healthy alternatives.
The link between aspartame and cancer, neurological complications and other diseases is widely debated and studies continue to be conducted to find the truth. However, even if it’s not as dangerous as some claim it is, it’s far from harmless. People with certain conditions, such as phenylketonuria (which impairs the breakdown of certain proteins or acids in the bloodstream) or clinical depression, have reported that consumption of aspartame has made their condition worse, or had an adverse effect on their body. It’s also been proven that diet soft drinks are just as likely to be a factor in obesity as their sugar-laden counterparts.
Coca-Cola already has a Diet Coke variation that uses Splenda, which contains no aspartame, but the rest of their diet soft drinks still use it. The company has already taken one small step in the right direction, but they have a long way to go.
Dear Mr. Kent,
The use of aspartame in your diet soft drinks is having an adverse effect on the health of those who consume them. While your creation of a Diet Coke that uses Splenda is appreciated, the fact remains that it’s only one of many variations.
Consumers with diabetes who want to indulge in the occasional soft drink should have the option to do so, without having to worry that the aspartame is going to harm their bodies or their neurological health. And while soft drinks can never truly be considered “health food”, we can make them less harmful to our bodies by cutting down on the additives.
There are better sugar substitutes to use, such as stevia. It’s possible to give consumers a great-tasting diet soft drink without relying on something potentially dangerous.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: My100Cans