Although they are stopping just short of calling it an actual “health cola,” Coca-Cola Plus is the latest addition to the health-oriented cola war in Japan.

It’s long been reported that the population in Japan is steadily aging, and with that the nation’s buying trends are shifting as well. This is something the Coca-Cola Company has been watching closely as well. After all, they didn’t become one of the largest brands in the world by sitting around and doing nothing.

Contrary to previous diet colas that are simply less-harmful with lower amounts of sugar and calories, Coca Cola Plus is being touted as the first Coke that may actually improve your health.

In addition to having no calories and sugar, each bottle contains five grams (0.18 ounce) of indigestible dextrin and other dietary fibers. Coca-Cola says that drinking one bottle each day along with meals will both reduce the absorption of fat from the food and moderate the levels of triglycerides in the blood following the meal.

This is a bit of a departure from other fat-blocking colas in that Coca-Cola Plus actually has a recommended usage. For the cola to have its intended effect, you should only drink it while eating a meal and limit yourself to one bottle per day – presumably divided into three 150-milliliter (5.1-ounce) servings.

▼ The Coca-Cola Plus website touts a seven percent reduction in triglyceride levels compared with eating the food with a regular diet cola.

Clearly this is aimed at people over 40, for whom a bottle of regular Coke a day could more easily lead to several health complications but still crave the flavor. That being said, Coca-Cola is refraining from calling Coca-Cola Plus a healthy drink, instead opting to call it a Tokuho Cola.

Tokuho is short for Tokutei Hokenyo Shokuhin (food for a specific health use), which is a Japanese legal term to classify products that claim to have health benefits but haven’t passed the rigorous testing that “health foods” require to call themselves that.

Giving Coca-Cola the benefit of the doubt, this could simply be a time-saving strategy to get Coca-Cola Plus released more quickly in the ever-increasing market of fat-blocking, health-oriented carbonated drinks like Mets Zero or Pepsi Special.

Granted, that’s a big leap of faith to give a brand that has been rarely synonymous with good health choices. However,  it’s an intriguing concept, and we’ll keep an open mind. Those of us at RocketNews24 who are over 40 and facing increasinglyexpansive waistlines just may pick up a bottle for 158 yen (US$1.40) when it hits the shelves nationwide on 27 March. It would come in really handy with the meals eaten around this office.

Update: Since many readers were wondering what is used as a sweetener in Coca-Cola Plus, the ingredients on their website list them as: “Aspartame, L-phenylalanine compound, Acesulfame potassium, Sucralose

Source: Coca-Cola Japan 1, 2
Top image: Coca-Cola Japan

Insert images: Coca-Cola Japan (1, 2)