Most people know that drinking soda is not good for them. It tends to be high in sugar and calories, and it has a host of artificial colors and flavors. What about diet soda like Diet Pepsi, though? Since it says diet on the label, doesn’t that mean that it is a weight loss drink? Most reasonable people realize that even though it does not have any calories, it still has all of the other chemicals and artificiality that is a part of other sodas. They wouldn’t necessarily think that it is a healthy product that would help them achieve their weight loss goals.
Diet Does Not Mean Diet
However, this is not so clear to everyone, as there was a lawsuit filed against Diet Pepsi for claims of false advertising and deception. The plaintiffs in the case, Elizabeth Manuel and Vivien Grossman also claimed that there were negligent misrepresentations and breaches of express and implied warranties. They believed that by calling the soda “diet”, it would make people believe that it would help them with weight loss or with weight management.
They said that there was scientific evidence that the use of artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, would cause issues with the body’s ability to metabolize calories properly. This would actually lead to weight gain, and it could lead to an increased risk of other issues, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and metabolic disease.
What Did the Court Decide?
The judges in the case said that the studies that the plaintiffs used did not supply any link between drinking diet soda and gaining weight, which would have been needed as a means to support the claims that they had brought forward.
In addition, there was an amendment made to the United States Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act that said that if the term diet is used in the brand name of a product, such as a soft drink, it would conform with the law. This means that using diet for Diet Pepsi was legal and reasonable and that it should not be construed as being a diet product.
The court believed that it was not reasonable that the plaintiffs would assume that it was a weight loss product because the term diet was a part of the brand and was used to let people know the difference between the regular Pepsi soft drink. Ultimately, the judge ruled that the case should be dismissed because the plaintiffs should have known that it was not a diet product.
Soft Drinks Get Sued a Lot
This is not the only time that soda companies have been sued, and it won’t be the last. In fact, before Diet Pepsi was sued for using the term diet, Diet Coke and Diet Dr. Pepper went through the same type of lawsuit. They were dismissed, as well. Of course, there are actually a number of products on the shelves today that do have labels that are misleading, which is something that the courts are going to have to deal with going forward.
In 2013, there was a lawsuit filed against Diet Pepsi, as well, because they failed to warn consumers that the soda contains 4-Mel, which is a cancer-causing chemical according to the state of California. In this case, the soda maker was actually on the wrong side of the law, as they exceeded the allowed level in each of their cans and bottles. This proves that even though there might be some cases that appear to be frivolous, there are others that are quite legitimate and need to be taken seriously.