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Pepsi Throwback
Pepsi Throwback

Pepsi Throwback

Here’s something I hope stays for good, Pepsi Throwback.

When I saw it at the local Metro the other day I was stupid happy. And though some folks — unrepentant health nuts, mostly — will bitch about Pepsi simply attempting to lure more people into drinking soft drinks, I enjoy Pepsi for oddly medicinal reasons: it helps control my kidney stones. And because I drink one Pepsi a day for said purpose, I would prefer if it was sweetened with real sugar as opposed to HFCS. I’ve even gone so far as to contact Pepsi to see if it would be a product they’d bring out. And here it is!

And to be fully honest I did enjoy Pepsi and had for years. However, because of my kidney stone problems I was told by my doctors to abstain from drinking soft drinks. Which I did. But when I stopped my kidney stone problem grew substantially worse. I thought it merely coincidental. I remained off soft drinks for about 3 years. Then last year my wife noticed a medical report claiming certain soft drinks actually help reduce stone formation.She recommended I go back on Pepsi recalling that the stone situation worsened the longer I’d been off of Pepsi. She figured that maybe I was self-medicating my stone problem through Pepsi and it may have been why I have an unnatural aversion to Coke — in fact, I dislike most soft drinks but not Pepsi or Mountain Dew. I thought it weird but worth a try, especially as the prescribed citrate pills were making me ill and actually increasing the pain I had daily. But the proof would be in the tests, or more accurately the CT and ultrasound scans I regularly have. Scans pre and post my return to drinking Pepsi showed vastly different results, surprising results. Pre showed the typical thousands of stones, with my left kidney appearing milky with thousands of stones in suspension. Post showed a small flake in my right kidney and my left kidney clear! My urologist asked what I’d changed in my diet to make such a dramatic change and when I told him he agreed that it was probably the Pepsi and the citrates therein. He had read the same medical journal articles. Now, for those curious I had been taking citrate tablets for two to three years but they made me ill and in so much pain that mornings were particularly unbearable. There was literally no difference in the scans pre and post taking those pills. And the pain actually worsened! Now, nearly no pain, nearly no stones and all courtesy of a Pepsi a day. Well worth it, in my opinion. And to offset the carbs of the Pepsi I just eat one less slice of bread a day. An easy change.

So Pepsi Throwback is out in stores. Probably for a limited time, which saddens me. I was hoping Pepsi would realize there’s a whole slew of us how would prefer sugar-sweetened drinks. I know that during Passover many Jews tend to pick up Passover-approved Pepsi and Coke, which, too, is made with sugar as opposed to HFCS. I would stock up each Passover making Easter a bit of a treat in our household Pepsi-wise :-). But I had always hoped Pepsi would see that there’s a huge market for those who want a cane (or beet) sugar sweetened drink. There are those aforementioned Jews at Passover. But there are also Hispanics who grew up on cane-sugar sweetened Pepsi and Coke who dislike the current offerings, folks who do not like the weird mouth feel of HFCS, and probably others I don’t know about. In all, Pepsi won’t disenfranchise current drinkers but will, most probably, entice some additional fans into their fold.

Some claim the rise in obesity and the substitution by soft drink manufacturers of sugar with HFCS is not coincidental I wonder something else. Though most media have discussed the rise in obesity since the 70s there has also been a rise in kidney stones. Perhaps it’s all associated simply with an excessive carb intake. But perhaps there’s more to it. I’m hoping the medical community does more research into finding out what’s going on. I do know that recent kidney stone research shows that excessive carb intake, especially refined carbs, seem to increase stone formation. It’s why the recent research finding certain soft drinks beneficial urged drinking diet ones. However, I can’t stand the taste of aspertame. If they were sweetened with saccharine I’d be all in, but aspertame tastes horrid and gives me a headache. So I’ll just adjust my caloric intake and be none the worse.

As to taste, the interesting part is that there’s definitely more of a vanilla overtone. The taste is much cleaner and it doesn’t leave that weird aftertaste in my mouth that HFCS drinks do. And, I don’t get at all jittery from drinking it. And the weirdest thing is that I had one late last night, enjoyed it, and easily fell asleep. The regular HFCS sweetened Pepsi would have kept me up all night. So it’s either a fluke, I was exceptionally exhausted last night, or it just doesn’t affect me the same.

All I do know is that the first sip brought back memories of what Pepsi used to taste like. So here’s to hoping that Pepsi Throwback isn’t just a short lived phenomema but the way things will be in the future, namely a full line in the Pepsi oeuvre.

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February 2011
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