“Healthy soda” is arguably one of the most blatant nutritional oxymorons one could come up with. But Coca-Cola is attempting to bring the concept to life without irony with their latest bubbly concoction — Coca-Cola Plus.
Coca-Cola Plus is being touted as the “healthiest soda” you can buy, thanks to what’s not in it, as well as what is. The soda is calorie- and sugar-free, just like its Coke Zero and Diet Coke siblings, but it also has a dose of fiber added to it. Hence the “plus” in its name. The soft drink mega-corporation is going as far as to say that the drink can actually improve your health when consumed once a day, thanks to the added fiber (which comes from an additive called dextrin, which was initially marketed as a supplement for those with fiber deficiencies). According to Coca-Cola, Plus’s fiber content can help control cholesterol levels in the blood as well as reduce levels of fat absorbed from food. Who knew a soda could help negate the french fries and burgers you wash down with it?
The soda will be launched in Japan in March, while the stateside release date has not yet been confirmed. We’re guessing it’s going to be a while, since Coca-Cola will be testing the product and gauging consumer feedback before taking the product to larger markets.
They’re right to launch the soda with caution. This isn’t Coke Plus’s first attempt to foray into the hearts of soda drinkers trying to make their beverage choices “healthier.” A version of the drink was launched in Japan in 2007, and met with incredibly bad reception. As a CNN reviewer put it: “Coca-Cola Plus Fiber is like drinking an ultra-sweet cola-flavored jelly with a heavy dose of faux citrus and a biting carbonation. A remote high-five to anyone who can finish a whole bottle and eat another meal that day.”
Yeah, not something we really want to subject our taste buds to. Or our guts, for that matter. The original 2007 formula had a whopping eight grams of fiber per serving. When swirled into a brew of artificial sweeteners and unnatural green-tea powder additives, the result was a gastrointestinal distress bomb we can only imagine was comparable to the infamous evil powers of sugar-free Haribo Gummy Bears.
But 2007 was a long time ago, and the new Coca-Cola Plus’s fiber content has been pared back to a more moderate five grams per serving. But until you can try it for yourself, other diet sodas — or better yet, a tall glass of water — will have to do.