Have you noticed something different with your usual can or bottle of Coca-Cola? If you have, don’t worry; there’s nothing wrong with your taste buds or the Coke you’ve been drinking. Stores and restaurants in Canada have started selling Coke with a bit less sugar after Coca-Cola Canada announced that it has started producing the Canadian version with the same amount of sugar as in the United States.
For over a century, the local version of the world’s number one soft drink has had more sugar than its American counterpart. But in January, the company said it would reduce the amount of sugar that each bottle and can of Coca-Cola sold in Canada will contain. The company also announced that it would sell the famous beverage in smaller cans and bottles. This basically means that each 355mL can has 7% less sugar and 12.5% less calories.
Coke declined to explain why it decided to reduce the sugar content of its most popular beverage due to “competitive reasons.” However, American food industry legend Howard Moskowitz offered a simple explanation: the move is a positive one.
According to Moskowitz, the amount of sugar in a soft drink is not the same as the amount of sweetness. “Just because they take out the grams, doesn’t mean they automatically, simply, lower the sweetness. There’s a mixture of all sorts of good stuff playing around,” he said.
This essentially means that it is very rare or even very unlikely for everyone in Canada to notice that Coke being sold in the country has less sugar. According to experts, Coke would have to reduce its sugar content by almost twice the 7% reduction they are making for it to be just noticeable.
Coke’s sugar content reduction reflects Canada’s declining sugar consumption in recent years. The UN Food and Agricultural Organisation revealed that Canadians have begun to consume less sugar. The amount has declined from 14.1% in 2002 to 12% in 2014. In comparison, sugar consumption in the US remained unchanged at 17.1% during the same period.
The main reason behind this is that Americans consume more soft drinks, which are a main source of added sugar, than Canadians. According to the Canadian Sugar Institute, per capita soft drink consumption in the US is twice of that in Canada.
While soft drinks indeed taste good, health experts are encouraging everyone to limit their consumption. According to them, too much sugar can have adverse effects on one’s health.