Friday, August 13, 2010

Volume 5, Number 19: Diet Soda Reviews, Part 1

I started drinking diet sodas earlier this week after 28 years of drinking regular soda, the main reason being that I had been consuming way too many carbohydrates (which apparently can only be burned with exercise, which I don't do enough of; and/or a faster metabolism, which I no longer have).

I had dreaded the switch to diet because the artificial sweetener used in many diet sodas for the last 30 years, aspartame (aka NutraSweet), leaves an aftertaste that I don't like.

Another reason I would have called such a change unthinkable in 1982: At that time, diet sodas were generally marketed to women (examples: Tab, the Coca-Cola Company's first diet cola, came in a PINK can; also check out this Diet Pepsi commercial). My father was still drinking regular sodas even though he was diagnosed with Type II diabetes in 1980 and may have had the disease even before then (he did switch to diet a few years later). My mother did drink diet colas and she was the only woman in the family (I have no sisters). Between all that, I managed to hardwire it into my mind that since women tend to be more diet-conscious and appearance-conscious than men, that diet sodas were NOT for men (it might also help explain why my father continued to drink regular sodas even after learning he had diabetes).

Some 28 years later, however, I saw a picture a friend took of me as I was on July 31, and I finally saw what I refused to see in my own mirror: An overweight, out-of-shape man at risk of getting Type II diabetes himself. As the result of that experience, I've hardwired totally different thoughts into my mind:
  • I can't expect to lose weight while still drinking regular soda
  • I shouldn't be taking on empty calories every time I'm thirsty
  • I'd rather drink diet soda than ever have to inject insulin.
In case there's anyone else like me who is about to switch to diet sodas, I'm going to publish a series of super-short reviews of such sodas. The first two in this blog entry, I bought this past week:

Diet A&W Root Beer: ⋆⋆⋆⋆ The aftertaste of the aspartame seems to blend well with the aftertaste of the root beer. I'll buy this one again.

Faygo Diet Redpop: ⋆⋆½ Faygo is a Michigan-based company that produces sodas in a number of flavors I like, one of which is Redpop (a strawberry-flavored soda). Diet Redpop, however, I'm not so crazy about--the more I drank it, the less I liked its aftertaste.

These next three, I've had in the past whenever there was no regular soda, and I haven't had them since so I don't know if they've improved, but since they still use aspartame, I doubt that they have:

Fresca: ⋆⋆⋆ I love grapefruit-flavored sodas and Fresca is a big reason why. I remember having a can of it back in the late '70s. But I stop short of giving Fresca four stars because today's formula has gosh-forsaken aspartame (it tasted better back in the '70s because it had saccharin at that time). Darnit, someone at the Coca-Cola Company has got to bring back the old one and call it "Fresca Throwback" or "Fresca '77" or "Disco Fresca" or something like that!

Diet Pepsi (I can't get that jingle from that late '70s/early '80s commercial out of my head): ⋆⋆ The taste is all right but the aftertaste means I'm unlikely to buy it in the near future. I'll try Pepsi One and Pepsi Max before I try Diet Pepsi again.

Diet Coke: ⋆ Diet Coke is vile. Given that I prefer regular Coke over regular Pepsi, it may initially surprise you that I said that. But Diet Coke's formula has never been based on regular Coke. In fact, it's more closely related to the "new Coke" that came out in the spring of 1985 (and bombed so badly that the Coca-Cola Company brought back the "classic Coke" less than three months later); that "new Coke" was essentially a high fructose corn syrup-sweetened version of Diet Coke.

Coming soon in a future blog entry: Diet Canada Dry Ginger Ale, Diet Sunkist, Pepsi One and Pepsi Max

Update on that healthy foods fund: It's now up to $7.30 (that's the money I've avoided spending on roody poo junk food so far). I haven't spent any of it yet.

1 comment:

  1. Hallo Mark,

    Thanks for posting on this topic & I hope you will also be interested to join, follow & promote the vote on aspartame at

    Here's to health

    Very best wishes from Hamburg