Japanese Are Drinking Coke With Laxative Ingredient

Coca-Cola Plus has a 'Foods for Specified Health Uses' designation
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 8, 2018 9:45 AM CST
Japanese Are Drinking Coke With Laxative Ingredient
This image provided by The Coca-Cola Company shows a bottle of Coca-Cola Plus. Coke has introduced this version of its cola with fiber in Japan.   (The Coca-Cola Company via AP)

Those who grab a Coca-Cola Plus in Japan are definitely getting something extra: a laxative and the government's seal of approval. The Wall Street Journal reports on the unlikely sounding "health drink," which has qualified as a "Foods for Specified Health Uses" (FOSHU) product, meaning it includes an ingredient that's been determined by the government to bestow a health benefit. In this case, that ingredient is indigestible dextrin—5 grams of it per 16-ounce sugar- and calorie-free bottle. It's a source of dietary fiber, and as the company explained in a February 2017 press release touting the product's impending launch, "Drinking one Coca-Cola Plus per day with food will help suppress fat absorption and help moderate the levels of triglycerides in the blood after eating"—so long as you don't drink too much, which could cause "loose bowels," per a marketing VP for the company.

He says it took researchers a decade to come up with a formulation that would fall under the FOSHU umbrella but still taste good; the Journal talks to drinkers who both love it (one line of praise: "I like the feeling of the burps you get from drinking this") and drinkers who poured it out after taking a sip. USA Today noted in May that the company doesn't intend to bring the drink to the US, though we did have Coke Plus here once. CNBC says a vitamin- and mineral-fortified "Plus" version was released in 2007, and it fell under FDA scrutiny for not complying with a regulation that stipulates a food item bearing the word "plus" contain at least 10% more of those vitamins and minerals than its counterparts. Coca-Cola made the necessary adjustments, but the product's run ended around 2011. (The company is offering $1 million for a new sugar substitute.)

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