Coca-Cola to Defend Aspartame in New Ad Campaign

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As the world gets fatter and obesity becomes a major health hazard, soda manufacturers take a large portion of blame. And, even when companies like Coca-Cola launch diet products, the fight doesn't end there, with people rallying against the artificial sweeteners that can supposedly cause as much damage as corn syrup if consumed in large quantities.

The largest soda brand in the world, the Coca-Cola Company, is taking aim to fight back, with a campaign to defend aspartame, the sweetener in Diet Coke.

According to the Huffington Post, the ad, which debuts today in USA Today, followed by the Atlanta Journal Constitution on Thursday and the Chicago Tribune next week, was Tweeted by Beverage Digest and depicts two women having what seems to be a "girl's lunch" complete with Diet Coke. The copy states that:

"For over 127 years, people have been coming together over Coca-Cola products to refresh, to celebrate, and to enjoy a moment with something they love. One reason why, is that people have always been able to trust the quality of our products and everything that goes into them."

Including aspartame, the artificial sweetener that's been under fire from various groups almost since its introduction. Aspartame, commonly sold under the brands Nutrasweet and Equal, is composed mainly of two amino acids, aspartic acid and phenylalanine. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and are found naturally in many foods, but the sweetener, which was developed as a substitute for saccharine, has been linked to headaches, dizziness, seizures, and birth defects on the internet, although the FDA has stated, "the food additive aspartame may be safely used in food in accordance with good manufacturing practice as a sweetening agent and a flavor enhancer in foods."

Most importantly, The American Cancer Society states that, "most studies in people have not found that aspartame use is linked to an increased risk of cancer."

So what's the big deal about Diet Coke being made with aspartame? Well, it might have more to do with the soda giant claiming to be a scientific resource than merely using the artificial ingredient. In the pro-aspartame ad, Coca-Cola prompts the reader to learn more at beverageinstitute.org, a psudo-scientific site which is operated by (guess who?) Coca-Cola.

On the site, you'll find a handy infographic that touts the pros of aspartame, including fun facts including 200 million people in the world use aspartame -- a number that's frankly shocking.

In the end, although aspartame may not be completely harmful, it is an artificial sweetener with no nutritive value. And, while it's been deemed safe in moderation by the FDA and the American Cancer Society, you're still probably best served by a cheaper and healthier alternative -- water.

Follow Laine Doss on Twitter @LaineDoss and Facebook.

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