Update: This article was originally published in August 2015. Pepsi announced in june 2016 that it will now bring back aspartame.
PepsiCo says their decision to ax the chemical from their beverages is in response to ongoing customer worries about the safety of the sweetener, which has been shown to increase fat production and storage. "It's the number one thing that our customers have been calling about," Seth Kaufman, PepsiCo's senior VP, told the Associated Press.
But here’s the catch: PepsiCo added new artificial sweeteners in the place of aspartame—specifically a blend of sucralose (Splenda) and acesulfame potassium (also called acesulfame K). Though these sweeteners are considered a bit healthier than aspartame, research suggests consuming them can still increase the odds of weight gain. Plus, Pepsi still gets its signature brown color from the addition of caramel coloring, an additive that has been proven to cause cancer in animals.
As for the flavor, the company admits the new formula doesn’t have the same taste as its retired predecessor, but they stand by the claim that their drinks are still delicious. We’ll let you be the judge, but we still suggest you turn to a natural homemade soda instead.