Sprite recipe to be changed by Coca-Cola to cut calories but will it fight obesity?

Coca-Cola will replace sugar in its fizzy drink Sprite with natural sweetener Stevia to cut calories - but critics are dubious it will beat obesity

Sprite as we know it will soon be no more. In the UK, instead of sugar, the popular soda is to be sweetened with a natural sweetener called Stevia.

Fans of the 'full-fat' fizzy drink made by Coca-Cola may even be too late to stock up on original Sprites as the new recipe, which cuts 30 per cent of calories per can, hits the shelves this month.Sprite as we know it is changing, sugar's out and natural sweetener Stevia is in ©Rex

Soda fans in France were the first guinea pigs of the new recipe and the UK are to be next, though Coca-Cola hasn't decided if it will introduce Stevia-sweetened Sprite to the US yet.

And though it's clear that this is part of Coca-Cola's drive to tackle obesity (after being told to by the US government), will it have much of an impact and what does this mean for Sprite lovers in the UK?

On the taste front, the flavour has been criticised for being too strong and leaving a liquorice-type aftertaste.

In a statement today, Coca-Cola said: "We are introducing Sprite with Stevia in the UK. This will contain 30 per cent fewer calories and, instead of being added as a mid-calorie addition to the Sprite range, it will completely replace the current Sprite.

"Stevia, a sweetener from natural origins, is sweeter than sugar but without the calories.

"It is an extract from the leaf of the stevia plant which is native to Paraguay. Stevia has been used for centuries as a source of intense, natural sweetness."

That's not all it's doing. Coca-Cola's obesity-battling campaign commercial will be shown for the first time in the UK today.Coca-Cola highlights its obesity policies in a new commercial

We could praise the multi-national drinks company for taking action against obesity, but instead we're feeling pretty miffed that our occasional Sprite will most likely not be the tasty treat it once was.

And there are many who think forcing cut-calorie products on the consumer is tackling the obesity crisis all wrong.

Hypnotherapist Ailsa Frank, who has created several CDs to help people lose weight, is dubious that the cut calorie Sprite, and other 'healthier' options will have the desired effect.

"I don't for one minute think the manufacturers are changing anything for the sake of the nation's health but instead to coax the public into believing their drinks are healthy when they're not," she tells us.

"Fizzy drinks can only be included in a healthy diet as a very occasional treat, if at all.

"By changing the ingredients to a natural sweetener they're making people think that it's OK to have these drinks regularly."

How will we obey our thirst now? Tell us what you think of Coca-Cola's Sprite plan? Tell us on Twitter.