Aspartame-related soda drinks have their origins tied to 1963 when Coca-Cola launched TAB. The company was warned not to call it Diet Coca-Cola for fear of damaging its trademark. Pepsi followed suit with the long-forgotten Patio Diet Cola. It was named so for the same reasons as TAB. TAB paved the way for carbonated diet drinks. Coke Zero or Coca-Cola Zero claims to be the true alternative to Coca-Cola without sugar.
Aspartame has been since the 80s as an alternative to sugar. Its claims have been exhaustively studied ingredients in the human food supply, with more than 200 studies supporting its safety. Aspartame is sold under the brand names NutraSweet and Equal. It’s also used widely in packaged products — especially those labeled as “diet,” sugar-free, no- or low-calorie, or no-, low- or zero-sugar.
It’s my personal taste that Coke Zero and Diet Dr Pepper are the best zero colas on the market. According to grocery stores Diet Dr Pepper is one of the leading brands of regular carbonated soft drinks in the United States, along with Coca-Cola and Pepsi. The taste does not leave an Aspartame aftertaste. Recently, speculation has it that Diet Dr Pepper will be replaced by Dr Pepper Zero Sugar. The absence of Diet Dr Pepper on store shelves is partially due to the increased demand for diet sodas. Diet Dr Pepper has enjoyed a spike in sales in the past few years. I do not see Diet Dr Pepper disappearing anytime soon.
Many of us have a love-hate relationship with Aspartame when it comes to our health, with so much sugar hidden in so many foods, we need something to off-balance our daily sugar intake. In the end, it is a personal choice. A final verdict is not in. Aspartame is a multi-billion industry that will not go away.
Fun Fact: The artificial sweetener Aspartame is 200 times sweeter than sugar and is used in more than 6,000 food products across the world.